With just hours to go for the much-awaited return of the IPL to Chennai following a gap of two years, the 8 pm encounter between the Chennai Super Kings and the visiting Kolkata Knight Riders is being threatened by a large protesting crowd comprising multiple groups that has made its way to the Chidambaram stadium.
The fringe protestors earlier blocked traffic at Mount Road, one of the city's main roads, and marched on the stadium in pursuance of the call to boycott the IPL in Chennai until the central government constitutes the Cauvery Management Board.
The groups are carrying out their protest within 500m of the stadium, at the time of publishing. Earlier on Tuesday, Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi, one of the groups that was protesting in favour of the IPL boycott at the Chidambaram stadium was removed from the location by the Police. A number of protestors have also been detained.
There is massive Police deployment at the stadium to ensure the match proceeds smoothly. However, the police are outnumbered by protesters. The CSK team bus was earlier seen having reached the stadium.
IPL Commissioner Rajeev Shukla had met the Home Secretary who had spoken to the DGP regarding the provision of security for the spectators and players, and to ensure that no untoward incidents take place. The Tamil Nadu government and Chennai police had reportedly assured Shukla that security would be provided.
On Monday, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association had issued that mobile phones, banners, flags and boards would be banned at the stadium.
Since them, the ban on mobile phones has been overturned, as per the CSK Twitter handle.
Restrictions were also imposed on electronic items and musical instruments. Re-entry into the stadium has been banned.
The IPL became a point of contention as various groups called for the showpiece cricket tournament to not be held in the state at a time that farmers are suffering pending the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board. A number of political leaders have joined the IPL boycott call, including TTV Dhinakaran of the AMMK.
Speaking to Republic TV on Monday, Rajeev Shukla had refused to call off the match and asked for the IPL to not be mixed with politics.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the central government directing it to furnish a draft of the implementation plan of the apex court's February 16 judgment on the Cauvery water-sharing.
"Multiple people depend on water from the Cauvery river. The water should be released as per the Supreme Court's orders", CJI Dipak Misra ordered.