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Politics and sports should not be mixed: Lankan envoy

New Delhi, Mar.29 (ANI): Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam has expressed his anxiety and concern over a plethora of issues, including the safety of the Sri Lankan cricket players and other visitors in Tamil Nadu.

Sharing his views with the media here, High Commissioner Kariyawasam said that politics and sports should not be mixed.

“Number one issue is safety and security of Sri Lankans in India including sports persons; cricketers are very precious to us, so we want their security assured, if they are not going to Chennai makes them more secure to play in India that is good enough; but it is unfortunate that we don’t like politics and sports getting mixed up because that is not a good idea and so we live it to players to decide, the Boards to decide, and IPL (Indian Premier League) to decide as to how they want to go forward, as far a our players security is assured then I have no issue,” said Kariyawasam.

“We were disappointed that India did not vote us but relations between two countries are very deep, very longstanding as I explained it little while ago, it has a very historical connection at people to people level, business connections are very deep and India is a largest investor in Sri Lanka, so our relations will carry on and go forward. These are beeps in our long march towards going forward,” added Kariyawasam.

The Indian Premier League (IPL), which begins from April 3, has been preceded by protests in Tamil Nadu over the Central Government’s weak response to the human rights abuses being committed on Sri Lankan Tamils.

IPL organisers have agreed that no cricketer from Sri Lanka will play in the state.

Lawyers are now putting pressure on the central government to impose an overall ban on Sri Lankan players.

The Governing Council of IPL on March 26 said that no Sri Lankan cricketer will feature in its matches that are to be played in Chennai during the sixth edition of the tournament, which commences from April 3.

In a statement issued later by IPL Governing Council, Chairman Rajeev Shukla said that the security of all involved, including players, spectators or those working in the stadiums, is of paramount importance to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The Governing Council decided that Sri Lankan players will not participate in the Pepsi IPL 2013 League matches in Chennai and will advise the nine franchises accordingly.

Kariyawasam also hailed the progressive relationship between both the countries, but expressed disappointment for voting against Sri Lanka in UN resolution.

Recently, the state legislature of Tamil Nadu passed anti-Sri Lanka resolution, which was moved by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

Along with the resolution, she also called for a referendum on a separate Eelam among Tamils in Sri Lanka and Lankan Tamils abroad.

Jayalalithaa also wrote letters to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking the government to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo in November this year.

Further she stated that Sri Lankan players should not be allowed to play in upcoming IPL matches in Chennai.

The war crimes committed on Tamils by the Sri Lankan army during the country’s civil war waged by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in the island nation has shaken the country resulting in several protests in various states.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is under fire from the UN Human Rights Council, which last year adopted a United States-sponsored resolution demanding that Sri Lanka ensure government troops who committed war crimes during the final stages of its war against Tamil rebels are brought to justice.

The nearly 30-year-long civil war between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels of LTTE who at one time controlled large swathes of the north of the island state is estimated to have left tens of thousands of people dead or injured.(ANI)