The National Movement for Protecting Free Education (NMPFE) has issued an announcement asking as to who takes the responsibility of the brutal attack carried out on students of Sabaragamuwa University.
The announcement issued with the signatures of the co-conveners of NMPFE Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero and Senior Lecturer Devaka Punchihewa states’ “The students of Sabragamuwa University have been agitating since January demanding authorities to solve several issues pertaining to their education and welfare.
The administration that had been mum regarding students’ demands banned the Students’ Council and five Faculty Councils on 15th March and suspended five students who held important positions in the student bodies. The immediate reason for this is the opposition of student bodies for a political pageant the administration with the participation of the Minister of Higher Education attempted to organize.
The agitations launched to protest against banning of student bodies and suspension of students developed into a ‘death fast’ by 31st May. The students agitated yesterday to support the struggle carried out by students engaged in the ‘fast’. We saw how the government deployed the police and security forces to brutally attack this agitation. This is a barbaric act that should be condemned by all.
Allowing issues to fester without finding solutions for them, unnecessarily politicizing university administrations and deploying police and forces to suppress students have continued throughout the tenure of this government. Students’ Councils in universities are officially established democratic institutions. This is the structure for students to interact with the administration. Denying this democratic right indicates the government is driving university administrations towards despotism. This situation would drag the higher education in the country towards the abyss of Asia but not towards the ‘miracle’.
We see the attack on students of Sabaragamuwa University as a fatal blow aimed at free education. The government attacked students who struggled for their legitimate rights. They struggle not for themselves but to protect education for future generations. We vehemently condemn this attack and call upon all to join the struggle to protect free education.”
Students tear gassed, five arrested
Saturday, 01 June 2013
Police and Air Force personnel carried out a tear gas and baton attack on an agitation held by students of Sabaragamuwa University protesting against the move to ban the Students Council, Faculty Councils in the University and suspend four student leaders including the President and the General Secretary of the Student’s Council.
The students held the agitation at Pambahinna junction on Colombo – Badulla road.
Five students including a former president and a secretary of Social Sciences and Languages faculties were arrested by the police while more than 50 male and female students have been injured due to the inhuman attacks carried out by the police and Air Force personnel say students.
Residents in the area vehemently condemn the attack carried out by the police and Air force personnel. Students say even those who were in hostels and homes were dragged out and assaulted by the police and Air force personnel.