‘Won’t allow IPL match in Chennai on April 20’: Seeman, Bharathiraja, others announce

Justifying Tuesday’s protests and violence, the Forum for Welfare of Tamil art and literature said their protests will intensify.
‘Won’t allow IPL match in Chennai on April 20’: Seeman, Bharathiraja, others announce
‘Won’t allow IPL match in Chennai on April 20’: Seeman, Bharathiraja, others announce
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A day after massive protests rocked Chennai over the IPL match being held in the city, Naam Tamizhar Katchi leader Seeman has issued the next threat, saying Chennai Super Kings’ next home ground match “will not happen.”

Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Wednesday Seeman said, “Tomorrow we will protest. April 20 match won’t happen.”

Seeman along with directors Bharathiraja, Ameer and other allied parties had recently formed a Forum for Welfare of Tamil Art and Literature that will fight for causes such as the Cauvery issue.

Director Bharathiraja added, “We will continue to protest every time there is an IPL match in Chennai. The protests will be intensified.”

Chennai Super Kings are set to face off against the Rajasthan Royals on April 20 at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai. Chennai’s first home ground match against Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday was met with massive protests near the stadium by parties including the VCK, Naam Thamizhar, and SDPI, who came in droves and blocked Anna Salai less than 2 kilometres from where the match was taking place. Protesting groups have been demanding that the IPL matches not take place in Chennai, arguing that it would not be right to hold matches in the city when the state was in distress over the non-formation of the Cauvery Management Board by the Centre.   

Tuesday’s visuals even showed CSK fans being assaulted by the protesters. Some of the fans were made to remove their CSK jerseys by the protesting crowd. Staunch CSK supporter and team mascot Saravanan Hari, known for his characteristic yellow-paint look at IPL game was also allegedly assaulted outside the stadium by a group of protesters.

Faced with criticism over the violence, Seeman, however, justified the attack, stating, “We didn’t indulge in violence. It was the police who resorted to lathi charge. Who attacked cricket fans? If we wanted to attack, could anyone have entered the stadium? What violence did we do?”

MLA Thamimun Ansari, however, interjected and claimed, “Few of those people demeaned and provoked the protesters. So something may have happened.”

Several groups had earlier called for a boycott of the matches, while actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth had urged spectators to wear black. 

Despite many fans claiming that they were forced to change their yellow jersey by protesters, Director Bharathiraja claimed, “All those who went (for the match) were outside faces, people from outside the state.”

At this point, a woman leader who was standing behind Seeman said, “A police officer touched me here (pointing to the area between her chest and left shoulder) and pushed me. Isn't that violence and unacceptable?”

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected to arrive for the DefExpo event in Chennai on Thursday, Seeman said that they would protest at the airport.

“We are definitively showing black flag. We would have rolled out a red carpet to the PM if the Cauvery Water Management Board was set up. We will show black flag the Chennai airport,” said Seeman.

According to media reports, Seeman has been booked on 10 charges at the Triplicane police station including for attempt to murder and issuing death threats. Members of his party were seen attacking police personnel on duty on Tuesday. The police personnel were on duty to control the ensuing protests on Anna Salai over the IPL match taking place at the MA Chidambaram stadium. 10 members of the party were arrested and were remanded to judicial custody at Puzhal on Wednesday.

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