The Shiv Sena threat to Australian players taking part in IPL season-3 is causing ripples Down Under, with the Indian community there apprehensive of a backlash if the Sena did not soften its stand. Indians, especially students, in Australia, are vehemently protesting the move.
The Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA) has expressed solidarity with Australian players and has called for building up international pressure on India to ensure the safety of the players. The association is now planning to write to Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, asking him to desist from taking on Australian players, thinking of the safety of Indians in Australia.
"Till now, the victims were only poor Indian students. Now, the controversy has taken wide proportions and has engulfed players too. The recent stand may make it very difficult for students. FISA spokesperson," says FISA spokesperson Gautam Gupta, told TOI over phone from Melbourne.
Last month, Shiv Sena supreme Balasaheb Thackeray had called for a ban on Australian cricketers playing in Maharashtra through an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamna'. The comment had come in the wake of a series of attacks on Indians in Australia. Shiv Sena leader and Saamna editor Sanjay Raut had said the party would follow its chief's remarks and would oppose the Australian cricket team's visit in its trademark disruptive style.
There are around 20 Australian players who are with IPL teams, including Deccan Challengers captain Adam Gilchrist, Rajasthan Royals skipper Shane Warne and other top players like Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Mathew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds and Shaun Marsh.
Gupta said they were not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting between Sharad Pawar, BCCI president Shashank Manohar and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on this.
"They are all icons and play an important part in making IPL so interesting. Moreover, India is known for its hospitality and we wish it lives up to this image," adds Gupta. He said the association would thank the Indian political leadership for taking up the issue of the plight of Indians in Australia.
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