Tamil Nadu CM bars sports event citing Sri Lankan participation

Citing the participation of athletes from the genocide-accused Sri Lankan state in the 20th Asian Athletics Championship that was scheduled to be held in Tamil Nadu State, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms. Jayalalithaa on Thursday announced that her state will not host the Games. The participation of Sri Lankan athletes would hurt the feelings of Tamils, Ms Jayalalithaa said in a statement. Earlier this week, commenting on the recently released Channel 4 photographs of the execution of Balachandran Pirapaharan, Ms. Jayalalitha had also drawn a parallel between Nazi crimes against the humanity and that of the Sri Lankan state. Separately, protests against Sri Lanka have been reported in various parts of Tamil Nadu.

"The state will not conduct the championship and it cannot be held in Tamil Nadu. The general secretary of the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) will be asked by the state to hold the event somewhere else," the Chief Minister has said.

The Hindu reported that Ms. Jayalalithaa had said that her government wrote to the AAA, seeking the exclusion of the Sri Lankan contingent from the event and that the sporting body had also been requested to intimate Sri Lanka in an appropriate way the State government’s decision.

Quoting the Tamil Nadu CM, The Hindu further reported “since there has been no favourable response from the AAA, my government will at no cost accept holding the event, in which Sri Lanka is also participating, in Tamil Nadu. Tamils also will not accept it.”

But the Athletics Federation of India has reportedly said that they would try to hold the event elsewhere in India.

Meanwhile, there were protests in Chennai by Tamil activists demanding the closure of the Sri Lankan embassy.

Further, UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya had to call off his visit to the Thirukkadaiyoor temple in Naaka-paddinam following joint protests by several regional and national parties against him performing rituals at the historical Saiva temple.

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