Colombo: Sri Lanka's cricket board said on Wednesday that it would allow its players to take part in the IPL Twenty20 tournament in India next month after receiving assurances about their safety. The government in Colombo had threatened to prevent any of the 13 Sri Lankan players contracted to play in the Indian Premier League from taking part after they were all effectively barred from playing in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
But after talks with the sports ministry on Wednesday, the board said it would give the green light to the players provided they were happy to go and also did not play in Tamil Nadu. "If and when the players express their intention to play in the IPL 2013, they would be permitted to proceed with the restriction indicated on playing in the state of Tamil Nadu," said a statement from the board.
There was no immediate comment from the Sri Lankan government. The safety concerns surfaced after signs of growing anger among Indian Tamils over the Sri Lankan government's treatment of their ethnic kinsmen.
There have been several anti-Sri Lanka protests in recent weeks and Tamil Nadu lawmakers called Wednesday for New Delhi to impose an economic embargo on the Colombo government. Tamil Nadu's chief minister said Tuesday she would bar any Sri Lankans from playing in her state, prompting organisers to ban all 13 players from taking the field in games in the state capital Chennai.
Rights groups have said Sri Lankan troops killed up to 40,000 members of the minority Tamil population in 2009 in the last months of the civil war, a charge denied by Colombo. The Indian government, which has traditionally been wary of upsetting its neighbour, was among 25 nations which last week backed a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council calling for a probe of alleged war crimes on the island.