The call to boycott IPL matches played in Chennai to register Tamil Nadu's protest against the Centre's stance over not forming the Cauvery Management Board is gaining attention on social media.
The first match between the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders is supposed to take place on April 10 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. While some have been saying that the matches should be banned, others have said that nobody should go for the matches and that an empty stadium would send out a strong message.
Celebrities from the Tamil film industry have also expressed their support to the idea. After music composer and filmmaker James Vasanthan's blog post titled 'April 10 - A Weapon in Hand!', director Bharathirajaa has also come out in support of the boycott.
In a press statement, Bharathirajaa says, "They destroyed our race, we didn't say anything; they destroyed our language, we remained silent; when they take away our rights, we stay without fighting."
Noting that many organisations were trying to help the people fight back, Bharathirajaa says that such efforts would be undermined if the people became "slaves" to the "mesmerising world of the IPL". Calling the IPL a "foolish game", Bharathirajaa says that just as the Tamils are getting united, the IPL was spoiling this unity and that it should be banned.
"It's not the seats in the sports stadium that should be filled, it is the protest space," he says. Stating that this wasn't a warning but an affectionate note, Bharathirajaa says, "Remember that Tamilians also know a brave sport" - a reference to jallikattu and the 2017 protests that broke out in the state when a Supreme Court-ordered ban was issued against the sport. The protests were widely perceived as an expression of the Tamil people's anger against the Centre's cultural imposition and the state government's inability to stand up to it.
Bharathirajaa adds that he wasn't asking for a ban on the IPL but to postpone it. "If it takes place despite this, it won't be an IPL match, our jallikattu youngsters will fight with the bulls in the ring."
In his blog post, James Vasanthan had said that an empty IPL stadium was the best way to draw international attention to the issue. Stating that people should not dismiss this as a "farmer's issue" but should recognise it as a problem that affects our everyday lives, James Vasanthan goes on to say that it only required the sacrifice of about 50,000 people (the supposed capacity of the stadium) to benefit about 7 crore people. He also points out that nobody would be adversely affected by this protest.