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Students group asks Sena to go easy on Aus

Last updated on: February 10, 2010 14:42 IST

Stopping Australian cricketers from playing in IPL is not the right way to protest violent attacks on Indians living Down Under, said the Federation of Indian Students Association (FISA), urging the Shiv Sena to withdraw its threat.

Shiv Sena party has threatened to stop Aussie cricketers from playing in Mumbai during the Indian Premier League (IPL), which has prompted BCCI chief Shashank Manohar to meet the right-wing party's chief Bal Thackeray on the issue.

FISA said Sena's approach was not correct and Aussie players should not be targetted.

"We will ask them (Shiv Sena) to withdraw sanctions and indeed welcome them as partners of all Indians in Australia," FISA spokesman Gautam Gupta said at a press conference along with Cricket Australia spokesperson Peter Young and Victorian coach Greg Shipperd in Melbourne.

Gupta said he would write to Thackeray on the matter as such threats would only make life difficult for the Indian students here.

"Till now, the victims were only poor Indian students. Now, the controversy has taken wide proportions and has engulfed players too. The recent (Shiv Sena) stand may make it very difficult for students," Gupta said.

"We see cricket as an important tool to develop and grow this relationship," he added.

Echoing FISA's views, Shipperd, who is also Delhi Daredevils coach, said, "it is quite encouraging. Players going to India can be a lot more relaxed that they had your support. We will act as your and Australian goodwill ambassadors."

CA spokesman Peter Young said there was no place for racism in sports whether on or off field.

"We have also deplored violence in the community. At the end of day, our job is to ogranise cricket games but the sport can be and should be used to bring the two cultures together," he said.

On whether security of the players is becoming a concern as the IPL draws closer, Young said, "at the moment we're continuing to take expert advice on the situation in India."

"The players that we've spoken to are comfortable about going to India but before they go to India, we'll ensure they have up-to-date knowledge about the situation from a security and safety point of view so that before they make their decisions they can make fully-informed decisions," he added.

Indians have been targetted in a series of violent attacks in Australia, some of which have been dubbed racist by the country's administration.

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