|Uni students’ protest ( photo: demotix)|
Addressing the media last evening (4), the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) alleged that over 1,500 students have been banned from their respective universities, 76 have been imprisoned, three have been abducted and three have been killed. The IUSF Convener also charged government affiliated politicians of stirring unrest between undergraduates and villagers, citing the discord which resulted in the closure of the Ruhuna University earlier this week.
“We recently saw politicians in the Matara District rally with violent protestors, and then saw them encourage other villagers to join in the agitations against undergraduates. Is this the type of behaviour we have to now expect from politicians? Are they supposed to sow discord? They are supposed to resolve community issues and take care of their electorate, not cause trouble,” IUSF Convener Najith Indika said.
He pointed out that while harassment of undergraduates previously occurred in the dark, it is now practiced openly, especially after Higher Education Minister, S.B. Dissanayake, publicly threatened students and their parents.
The Minister told the media that student activists and their families would have to go into hiding if the undergraduates attempted to disrupt the annual Dayata Kirula exhibition scheduled to be held later this year.
Citing the Colombo University Arts Faculty and the Ruhuna University – both which are indefinitely shut down – Indika claimed that the educational authorities’ manner of resolving problems is to shut down universities and suppress student activism, instead of addressing issues posed by the students.
By Aisha Nazim