IPL Matches Moved Out Of Chennai Amid Cauvery Protests: Sources

Potesters gathered at Chennai's Anna Salai yesterday and called for a boycott of the IPL matches

Chennai:  All six Indian Premier League matches that were to be held in Chennai, have been moved out of the city in view of yesterday's massive protests by Cauvery activists, said sources in Indian cricket body BCCI. The new venue for the matches will be announced soon.

Political parties and fringe groups have demanded that all the IPL matches scheduled to be held in Chennai, be cancelled till the centre forms the Cauvery Water Management Board. The centre, they say, is playing politics over the issue and a blanket cancellation, they expect, will drive the message home. One group -- Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi or TVK -- even threatened to release live snakes into the stadium if no cancellation happened.

Yesterday, thousands of activists descended on Anna Salai, the arterial road near the Chepauk Stadium, asking fans to boycott the cricket match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.

Though the match was held amid tight security, slippers were seen flying inside the stadium and yellow jerseys of Chennai Super Kings were burnt. Five spectators, who allegedly threw the slippers, were later detained by the police.

In some areas, there were scuffles between the activists and fans. Fans were forced to take off the jerseys of their cricket teams, which were also set on fire. In some areas, policemen who tried to intervene, bore the brunt of the protesters' anger. Nearly 800 people were temporarily detained.  

While most political parties supported the protests, many condemned the violence.

Today, actor-politician Rajinikanth uploaded the video of what appeared an attack on the police on Twitter. The accompanying message read: "The worst form of violence is the assault on uniformed personnel". Earlier, he said holding cricket matches when Cauvery protests are on, is an "embarrassment".

In February, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to form a body that will implement water-sharing between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala by March 29 according to a formula it suggested. But no action was taken. As the deadline expired, the Centre filed an appeal in top court, asking for clarifications on the structure of the body.

Cutting across party lines, political leaders from Tamil Nadu have accused the BJP of trying to score political points in Karnataka, where assembly elections will be held in May.