Mumbai, Jan.24 (ANI): Ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, Shiv Sena has threatened not to allow Australian players to participate in the wake on ongoing attacks of Indian nationals in different parts of Down Under.
Executive president of Shiv Sena Udhav Thackeray, during media interaction on the occasion of 84th birthday celebrations of his father and party supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, said that his party wouldn't allow Australian Cricket players to take part in the Twenty-20 Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament. It is scheduled for March-April.
The Executive President said that his party would protest and take actions which will lead to the disruption of the schedule of the matches.
"The kind of role (of the party), expressed by Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray is not for his own good but for the sake of Indian students who were attacked in Australia. Our government is not doing anything in this regard, that is why Balasaheb Thackeray said that the players should not be allowed to play in India. Despite this, if they are welcomed through the Indian Premier League, then the organizers should be ashamed of themselves," said Udhav Thackeray, Executive President of Shiv Sena.
A number of Australian players including captain Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds, Mathew Hayden and Michael Hussey are due to play in this year's IPL Season-3, the third edition of the hugely popular Twenty-20 cricket league.
"If he (Lalit Modi) has the love for his country in his blood, he can understand what Balasaheb Thackeray is appealing for and if he does not, there are other ways of making him understand." said Udhav Thackeray, Executive President of Shiv Sena.
The attacks over the past 18 months, including the fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old Indian graduate this month, have strained Australian ties with India and hurt Australia's lucrative foreign student market, its third largest export earner, worth 13 billion Australian dollars (12 billion U.S. dollars) in 2007-08.
Indian press has labeled attacks against Indian students in Australia as racist whereas the police and the government Down Under have contended the attacks are purely criminal in nature.
While the number of Indian students pursuing higher academic courses in Australia had risen at an annual rate of around 41 percent since 2002, the recent spate of attacks has resulted in around 4000 aspirants from India canceling their plans to study Down Under.
Consequent to such attacks, a recent study did forecast a 20 percent drop in Indian students going to Australia in 2010, costing 78 million Australian dollars. (ANI)