University students protest and its aftermath

University students protest and its aftermath

University students protest and its aftermath

Written by Tharushan Fernando

30 Oct, 2015 | 8:18 pm

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for a report from the Law and Order Minister Tilak Marapana following an inquiry into the incidents that took place when dispersing university students who were protesting opposite the Ministry of Higher Education.

A communique by the Ministry says that measures would be taken after the Inspector General of Police submits a report on the incident.

The Students Collective to protect the Higher National Diploma in Accountancy protested opposite the Ministry of Higher Education on Thursday, demanding an equal recognition as provided to the Bachelor of Commerce.

Thereafter, police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters. Thirty nine university Students including two monks were arrested over the incident and were released on personal bail of Rs.100,000 rupees each after they were produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya.

The Chief Magistrate ordered for them to appear in court  on January 8. The Inter-University Students’ Federation filed a complaint at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka over Thursday’s incident.

Chairman of the Commission Deepika Udagama said that an investigations was launched into the incident prior to the complaint that was filed by the students.

Demonstrations were held across several universities in the  country condemning the attack on Thursday’s protest. Roads in several cities, including Colombo, were blocked as a result of these demonstrations.

Convener of Inter University Students’ Federation,Lahiru Weerasekera stated that 6% of the GDP was allocated for Education and the Mahapola Scholarship funds was raised by Rs.5000  and loan facilities were provided to the youth who enter technical education institutions.

He added:

The students were attacked in an inhumane manner yesterday. and so we ask, what is the meaning of this? This is the Government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – after they use the roguish police and army and attack us, the Government Spokesperson who is the Police Media Spokesperson says that “minimum force was used”.

Raja Uswetakeiyawa, a member of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka stated:

If the police is carrying our arbitrary activities, the entire government needs to be held accountable. The relief provided to Wimal Weerawansa, Sajin de Vass Gunawardena and KP is not provided to the people

Chameera Perera of the LSSP stated:

A transformation took place on the 8th of January and the transformation aspired to see dissent. Yesterday we saw how the present administration responds to certain issues. Who gave the police the freedom to act in this manner?

Jayantha Samaraweera of the National Freedom Front stated:

The Minister of Higher Education must look into the subjects of Higher Education and Road Development but it appears that the rulers do not want to listen to the peaceful voices of the people. So first, appoint a minister who will attend to this matter. Do not mix the emotions of the students with tar and sand and cement.

In a statement, Minister of University Education Lakshman Kiriella says that there is no reason for students to go on marches. He pointed out that it was agreed to provide solutions to the demands of the students during a meeting with the HNDA representatives and officials from the Ministry of Higher Education on Thursday.

Colombo Central Division, S.S.P Champika Siriwardene stated that no prior notification was made to the police over the march The march hindered the flow of traffic and they attempted to move towards the Ministry of Higher Education down Ward Place. We made attempts to communicate with them and facilitate a discussion with the officials from the Ministry of Higher Education and at that time, the protesters broke through the barriers and attempted to move forward and that is when we took measures to disperse the protesters

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