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Saturday, February 23, 2013

TN CM says 'No" to 20th Asian Athletics Championships ..


Given the Indo-Sri lankan relations and the tamil sentiments, it was a potent bomb…. ~ the pictures of  LTTE leader Prabakaran’s son Balachandran in military custody before being shot dead published in The Hindu naturally  evoked outrage and strong condemnation from political parties in Tamil Nadu.  The photos were of Channel 4 TV as part of a new video film on alleged war crimes in the end stage of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009.

Prabhakaran's son could have been killed in crossfire while he was in a little bunker. There is no need for an international probe. The photos are morphed," Prasad Kariyawasam told CNN-IBN.  However, the pictures, part of a film, "No Fire Zone", which seeks to document the rights abuses during the final phase of Sri Lanka's war sure delivered a different message.

And that has cast its shadow first on Sports arena.  The Asian Athletics Championships is a quadrennial  event organized by the Asian Athletics Association.  It was first held in  1973 and the 20th one was to be held here.  India had hosted it in 1989 at New Delhi and Chennai was to be the venue for the 20th event.   Alas, not to be. Stepping up her campaign against the Sri Lankan government after the emergence of what appeared to be new evidence of war crimes, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday announced that the State would not host the 20th Asian Athletics Championships to be held here in July 2013

The participation of Sri Lankan athletes would hurt the feelings of Tamils, she said, in a statement. The Asian Athletics Association (AAA), Singapore, which conducts the championships, would be asked to conduct the event elsewhere. The Chief Minister on Wednesday condemned the Sri Lankan government over the alleged cold-blooded killing of Balachandran, son of the slain LTTE chief V. Prabakaran, terming it an “inhuman act”. Ms. Jayalalithaa said her government wrote to the AAA, seeking the exclusion of the Sri Lankan contingent from the event. This was in view of the Sri Lankan government acting repeatedly against Tamils. Ms. Jayalalithaa added that “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.”

The Chief Minister recalled that she ordered the return of Sri Lankan football players who were in Chennai for a friendly match in September last. In July and August, after she stoutly opposed training given to defence officials of Sri Lanka at the Air Force Station, Tambaram, near Chennai, and Defence Service Staff College, Wellington, in Nilgiris district, the officials were withdrawn from the training programmes. The Chief Minister said she had written a number of letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that no training should be given to Sri Lankan officials anywhere in the country including in Tamil Nadu.

The government’s decision not to host the Asian Athletics Championships in Chennai has brought into focus the state’s standing as an international sporting destination. There are mixed feelings, but none would dare to comment as political sentiments run very deep.   The move would be hailed as prudent and keeping with demands of the current scenario as in the fragile environment, it is better to avoid any untoward incidents.  

Will that spill over elsewhere…….. and would Srilankan cricketers who have a fair sprinkling on IPL teams would be allowed is one Q    ~ no speculations !

Some leaders have always stopped with statements ~ the Centre has dangled with a unclear policy on its stand against Sri Lanka for its alleged war crimes.  TN CM Jayalalithaa has been a lone warrior and perhaps through her decision  has conveyed to  Delhi and Colombo in unequivocal terms that if India continues to indulge in diplomatese, even after mounting evidence of Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes against ethnic Tamils and the growing tide of international outcry, the state will not keep quiet and has every reason to tick them off.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Feb 2013.

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