The Inter University Students Union (IUSF) condemns the military shramadana underway at universities islandwide, the IUSF spokesperson Sanjeewa Bandara said today. “First it was the military training, then they sent ex-military men as security to the universities and now they are getting the military to organise shramadana,” Mr. Bandara said.
According to him the military is trying to play a huge role within the universities to crackdown on student dissent.
“The first year students have received letters making it compulsory for them to take part in the shramadana like they were forced to undergo the military training,” Mr. Bandara said.
He said the government was using the military to interfere and sideline student movements by engaging the freshers in workshops and shramadana activity. “This is happening at the Ruhunu University and the lecturers and students together held a joint protest against it,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Rathna Lanka Security Firm that comes under the Secretary of Defence took over the security of the University of Ruhuna and they will be paid Rs.70 million annually when the lowest tender bid was Rs.20 million, Mr. Bandara said.
“We could have used the Rs.50 million if we didn’t assign Rathna Lanka as the chosen security firm if we had stuck by the tender,” Mr. Bandara said. The freedom at the universities island-wide has come under severe threat by the ruling few and there is a greater threat to society, he said. (Sumaiya Rizvi)