New Delhi - Sri Lankan cricketers have been warned they're not welcome in the Tamil Nadu province during the Indian Premier League starting next week.
The southern state is home to the IPL's dominant team, the two-time champion Chennai Super Kings, who feature two Sri Lankan players.
But Jayaram Jayalalithaa, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, has written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying Sri Lankans weren't allowed to play there because people in her state were disturbed by alleged human rights violations and the systematic killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka. If Sri Lankans play in the state capital Chennai, she wrote it will "aggravate an already charged atmosphere."
"The government of Tamil Nadu will permit IPL matches to be held in Tamil Nadu, only if the organisers provide an undertaking that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff would participate in these matches," Jayalalithaa wrote.
IPL and Indian cricket board officials downplayed the threat on Tuesday, while Sri Lanka Cricket merely warned its players for now.
"We are reviewing the situation after the latest development," IPL chairperson Rajeev Shukla said in New Delhi. "But we'll go ahead with the tournament and Chennai will continue to be a venue.
"We have to take the local sentiments into account and at the same time the safety and security of the Sri Lankan players are paramount. If the local administration has given something we have to listen to that as ultimately we need the help of the state authorities to hold the tournament, like security arrangements."
Sri Lanka Cricket said it was waiting for advice from its government and Indian cricket officials.
"Sri Lanka Cricket has ... received assurances that the BCCI will take all necessary steps to ensure that the players feel safe and action will be taken to ensure that the players' safety is paramount," SLC said in a statement. "BCCI also stated that they are monitoring the situation closely and will take necessary action as and when required, to request teams not to bring Sri Lankan players to Tamil Nadu if the situation escalates."
The Chennai Super Kings feature bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya.
Eleven other Sri Lankans feature in seven other teams.
Chennai's first home game is on April 6 against Mumbai Indians, who include Lasith Malinga.
Jayalalithaa last month refused to host the Asian Athletics Championships in July as it would feature Sri Lankans.