Sri Lanka’s Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) on Tuesday alleged that an undergrad undergoing the military’s compulsory leadership training program, has been sexually abused by a soldier, while another student has become handicapped due to an accident during the training.
Issuing a statement, Convener of the IUSF Najith Indika has said that the prospective university student “had been sexually molested by an army soldier at the Gannoruwa Army Camp and the authorities had covered-up the incident”.
He said that V.K.D.R. Vijitha Latha “has sustained a spinal code injury on November 8th as she fell off a 7 ft wall at the Kalattawa Army Camp and is currently being treated at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital”.
There was no immediate reaction from the Sri Lankan Army or the government regarding these serious allegations.
The IUSF said that the University Leadership Training Program is nothing but “a politically motivated propaganda” which it said being continued uninterruptedly despite repeated objection from the lecturers, parents and undergraduates.
The highly contentious compulsory leadership training programme for university entrants was inaugurated in May 2011. The programme provides a three-week residential training for over 20,000 university entrants in military camps annually. This programme was designed and implemented within a very short time is pre-requisite for university entrance across the country.
From the very inception, the unpopular programme has been coming under strong criticism for its lack of transparency, accountability and consultation in the process of design and implementation.
The students, their lecturers, parents and opposition parties expressed serious concerns as the compulsory programme is being conducted within the confines of military camps and with the excessive involvement of the military personnel, but the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Defence have grossly ignored these concerns.