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Jaya cancels Asian Athletics Games, says won't host Lanka

Last updated on: February 21, 2013 14:05 IST

Amid protests over the alleged brutal killing of slain Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief V Prabhakaran's son, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday called off the 20th Asian Athletics Championships scheduled to be held in Chennai in July, saying Lankan players have no place in the state.

Jayalalithaa said her government had written to the Asian Athletics Association in Singapore, seeking that the Lankan team be desisted from participation due to the sentiments of the people in Tamil Nadu, as the Lankan government was "repeatedly acting against the ethnic minorities".

The decision comes a day after Jayalalithaa slammed the Lankan government over the "inhuman act" of alleged cold blooded killing of 12-year-old Balachandran by the Lankan army, which has also evoked a strong condemnation from various political parties in Tamil Nadu including DMK.

The sporting body had been requested to inform the Lankan government about the state government’s decision, Jayalalithaa said.

"It had been requested that they update us on the follow-up action with copies of the letter sent to secretaries of Union external affairs and sports ministries. But there has been no information from the Association so far. Since there has been no favourable response from the Asian Athletics Association, my government will at no cost accept holding the event, in which Sri Lanka is also participating, in Tamil Nadu. Tamils also will never accept it," she said in a statement.

The upcoming sporting event will not be conducted by Tamil Nadu government in any part of the state and the Association will be asked to hold it elsewhere, she said.

She reiterated her charge that the killing of Balachandran was a "a grave war-crime which cannot be forgiven."

Jayalalithaa recalled her various pro-Tamil initiatives after assuming office in 2011, including passing a resolution in the Tamil Nadu assembly, asking New Delhi to impose an economic embargo against Sri Lanka till minority Tamils are ensured equal status on par Sinhalas.

She had written to the prime minister against training Sri Lankan defence personnel in any part of the country, she said.

She had sent back Sri Lankan football players who had arrived in the state to play friendly ties and said she had 'condemned' the Centre for allowing their entry into Tamil Nadu.

The chief minister said she reiterated the 2011 assembly resolution during her reply in the recent assembly session, urging the Centre to act against Colombo, but the pleas from Tamils seem to have "fallen on deaf ears," and were being dumped in the bin, she charged.

Jayalalithaa pointed out that during her media interaction on Wednesday, she had demanded that India discuss the issue with the United States and other like-minded countries to draft a resolution in the upcoming United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees meeting in March at Geneva against Sri Lanka for alleged rights abuses and make the war-crimes accused face the International Court of Justice.

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