4,000 Cops At Chennai Stadium Today Amid Cauvery Protesters’ IPL Threat

Political parties and fringe groups have been demanding cancellation or postponement of all seven IPL matches in Chennai till the centre constitutes the Cauvery Management Board.

As Chennai Super Kings (CSK) gears up to face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) this evening amid protests over delay in Cauvery board, about 4,000 police personnel have been deployed at the MA Chidambaram or Chepauk Stadium in Chennai to ensure the Indian Premier League (IPL) match is played without any disruption.

Political parties and fringe groups have been demanding cancellation or postponement of all seven IPL matches in Chennai till the centre constitutes the Cauvery Management Board. They are asking spectators to boycott the match.

Empty galleries, they hope, would send a strong message to the centre which they say is defying the Supreme Court Order by not forming the neutral body which would independently assess and share Cauvery waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu according to the water sharing deal.

On Monday, a group led by Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi chief, Velmurugan released black balloons near the stadium. Today, they again tried to stage a demonstration outside the stadium, but the police and Tamil Nadu Cricket Association were prepared. They were immediately removed by cops.

Tough restrictions have been imposed amid reports that some groups were planning to stage protests, and wave black flags inside the stadium during the match. Therefore, spectators won’t be allowed to bring banners to the venue. They’ve also been warned against use of abusive language.

All approach roads to the stadium will have thick police cover to keep protesters at bay. A senior officer told NDTV, “All measures would be taken to ensure peace and order.”

Calling IPL matches in Chennai amid widespread Cauvery protests an embarrassment, superstar-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Sunday said, “If they don’t cancel, at least they should allow players and spectators to wear black badges.”

Fans, however, are divided.

Santosh, a college student, sympathises with farmers, but is against the cancellation of the match. He says, “I’m fine with wearing black bands, but cancelling IPL matches isn’t the solution.”

Rohit, another fan, said, “Politics and sports ought to be kept separate. CSK is playing after two years and we want to watch it.”

Karnataka is against the Cauvery board as it doesn’t want to lose control of its dams. The ruling BJP, political parties in Tamil Nadu claim, doesn’t want to form the body as it could upset poll-bound Karnataka.

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