Free Media Movement (FMM) strongly condemns the inhuman police attack against the students of Higher National Diploma in Engineering (HNDE) who protested asking recognition of HNDE as equivalent to the undergraduate degree and for several other requests, in front of University Grant Commission on 29th October, 2015. FMM considers this attack as a gross violation of right to protest which is one of the major means to achieve citizens rights.
It is clear that the precious practices of not listening, not responding to the student requests and using police force to suppress students were followed as in the past, and media had widely reported how inhumanely students were attacked by police, when they attempted to enter to the UGC despite of the barriers erected by the police . After attacking with high pressure water cannons and teargas, police chased the students who ran into the nearby market stalls and have beaten them. It is also reported that several students were arrested.
This incident reminds us the oppressive past in which peaceful meetings and protests organised to obtain due rights were brutally suppressed. It also creates a negative picture about the country as a state which neglects global human rights standards. Also this incident should not have happened under a regime which came into power with the promise of (‘Yahapanalana’ ) the good governance. In the name of so promised ‘Yahapalanya’, (good governance) FMM strongly demands an impartial investigation into this attack from President Maithreepala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickaremasinghe and to take action against the Police who attacked the students using disproportional power and any other higher authority who is responsible for instructing the police to behave in this manner.
(FMM press release on 31 Oct 2015)