‘Boycott Chennai Super Kings’ – Fans outraged after Sri Lankan army player joins IPL champions

As the 2022 Indian Premier League auction ended this week, controversy erupted after defending champions Chennai Super Kings bought Sri Lankan army cricketer Maheesh Theekshana to join the franchise based in Tamil Nadu.

The hashtags #Boycott_ChennaiSuperKings and #DontNormaliseTamilGenocide began to be shared on social media platforms as the Sri Lankan army corporal joined the squad.

The 21-year-old has previously praised the Sri Lankan military, accused of committing mass atrocities and genocide, for its involvement in cricket on the island.

“There are about 150 cricketers in the army”, noted Theekshana last year, praising the range of facilities available to soldiers to play cricket. “It shows how much support the military has given to improve the game of cricket,” he added.

Theekshana also credited the war crimes accused Sri Lankan army chief Shavendra Silva for helping him in his career, thanking him in an interview with the Sunday Observer Last year.

In turn, the Sri Lankan military also congratulated the young cricketer even posting an update on their official military website as Theekshana won the man of the match award when Sri Lanka faced Namibia last year. “Army’s Outstanding Bowler Saves the Day” read it big title.

Theekshana is part of the army’s infamous Gajaba regiment, responsible for atrocities such as the Mirusuvil Massacre.

File photograph: Soldiers of the Gajaba Regiment of Sri Lanka

For Chennai Super Kings fans in Tamil Nadu and around the world, Theekshana’s inclusion in the base team has caused insult and outrage. Fans pointed to the genocide of the Tamils ​​of Eelam in Sri Lanka and the numerous assaults and killings of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the military.

Although fellow Sri Lankan cricketer Bhanuka Rajapaksa, a relative of the ruling Rajapaksa regime, joined a different franchise, it was Theekshana’s purchase with the Chennai Super Kings that sparked the most anger.

“YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO ALLOW #GENOCIDESRILANKA TO REPRESENT THE PLAYER INSIDE [Tamil Nadu]COUNTRY THAT HAS MASSACRED TENS AND THOUSANDS OF OUR TAMILS, STILL WITHOUT JUSTICE!” tweeted an user.

“OF THE BUDDHIST COUNTRY THAT HAS AN UNOFFICIAL POLICY OF TORTURE AND KILLING TN FISHERMAN, RAPING AND TORTURING SRI LANKAN TAMIL PROTESTERS, AND TAKING LANDS FROM TAMIL SL Till DATE”, says another.

With thousands of tweets and counts, the hashtag continues to trend on Twitter today.

Other users pointed to an earlier policy of the Tamil Nadu government in 2013, when it bans all Indian Premier League matches involving Sri Lankan cricketers. Then-Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha wrote a letter to India‘s Prime Minister explaining his actions and the state’s overwhelming “anger” at Sri Lanka’s “barbaric acts” towards the Tamils.

“The government of Tamil Nadu will allow IPL matches to be held in Tamil Nadu, only if the organizers agree that no Sri Lankan players, referees, officials or support staff will take part in these matches,” he said. -he adds. she added at the time.

As hundreds of comments continued to be posted online and the controversy continued to grow, the Chennai Super Kings have yet to officially respond.

This is not the first time Sri Lankan cricketers have sparked controversy in Tamil Nadu. In 2020, the popular Kollywood actor Vijay Sethupathi has come under a lot of criticism after announcing he was “honoured” to star in a film about the life of controversial Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan.

Vijay Sethupathi dropped out of the project after Muralitharan asked him to step down from the film to “avoid any problems to his acting career”.