IPL 2018: Tamil outfit agitating over Cauvery issue threats to hold protest outside M A Chidambaram stadium

The first tie in Chennai, between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is scheduled for Wednesday, but a pro-Tamil outfit warned of picketing the M A Chidambaram stadium.

Opposition to IPL matches to be held in Chennai intensified on Monday with a pro-Tamil outfit agitating over the Cauvery issue threatening to hold protests outside the game venue on Wednesday. The state government, on its part, put the onus on the IPL governing body for conducting the matches. The cricket board has been apprised of “our sentiments,” Fisheries minister D Jayakumar said.

He said “it would be good” if the BCCI respected the sentiments and not conduct the match here but the government would provide all support including security as per laid down guidelines. The state has been witnessing protests for the past one week urging the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).

The first tie in Chennai, between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is scheduled for Wednesday, but a pro-Tamil outfit warned of picketing the M A Chidambaram stadium.

Political parties and outfits have demanded that Indian Premier League (IPL) matches not be held at a time when the state was witnessing widespread agitations on the vexed issue. Pro-Tamil outfit Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) warned of picketing the stadium tomorrow if the IPL stuck to its Chennai calendar.

As per the schedule, the MS Dhoni-led CSK and KKR, captained by Dinesh Karthik, will lock horns at 8 PM.

“If the match is held despite our plea, we will coordinate all democratic forces to stop it by organising a massive picketing protest. Many leaders and organisations will participate,” TVK chief T Velmurugan told reporters in Chennai. “Cricketers knowing Tamil, please understand our sentiments,” he said.

Later, Velmurugan told PTI that his party or outfits that have joined hands with it were not against the players.

Meanwhile, a group of prominent film actors and directors launched a forum to back Tamils’ cause in the state and called for “postponement'” of IPL fixtures in the state.

Veteran film director Bharathiraja, part of the forum, told reporters here IPL will “divert” the prevailing “awakening” among the youth in Tamil Nadu over the Cauvery issue.

“Tamil Nadu is boiling…we are not saying there is no need for IPL. Please postpone (the matches). IPL will divert the awakening among the youth over Cauvery issue,” he said.

However, CSK CEO K S Viswanathan said the team’s home matches will go on as per schedule. The city police has been informed about the schedule and will handle the situation accordingly, he added. Jayakumar said the IPL management only should decide on holding matches.

“The cricket board (BCCI) should decide on whether to conducting IPL (in Chennai) or not. We have conveyed our sentiments. Organising the matches here now is a matter to ponder over,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association listed out a series of measures for tomorrow’s match, including banning banners and flags from being taken into the stadium.

“Items such as (including without limitation) banners, flags, displaying patented commercial logos, which, in the Association/Organisers view may conflict with the rights of any official sponsor of the match, will not be allowed into the stadium,” a TNCA release said.

Spectators were requested not to bring bags, mobile phones, brief-cases, pagers, radios, digital diaries, laptops, computers, tape-recorders, binoculars, remote control devices, remote control car-keys or any other electronic devices. The list also included a ban on carrying firecrackers, inflammable materials and firearms, among others, into the stadium. There will be no re-entry for a spectator, it said. Security has been stepped up for players, even as more personnel have been deployed outside the cricket stadium and the hotel where they are put up.

On February 16, the Supreme Court raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin.

The court had granted six weeks time to the Centre to formulate a scheme to ensure compliance of its 465-page judgement on the decades-old Cauvery dispute, which modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award of 2007.

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