IUSF Convenor decries Police attack on students | Daily News

IUSF Convenor decries Police attack on students

Inter University Students' Federation (IUSF) Convener Lahiru Weerasekara charged that the inhumane Police attack on the students demonstrating on Thursday was carried out under the orders of the government.

Addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday, he vehemently condemned the manner in which the Police handled the situation during the demonstration opposite the University Grants Commission (UGC) at Ward Place, Colombo.

"The protest was a result of a 540 day continuous outcry to reinstate the degree equivalence to the Higher National Diploma in Accountancy," Weerasekara said.

"When we held a similar protest opposite the UGC on December 22, 2014, the then government handled the situation with Police force and this incident was highlighted by the Opposition during the election campaign prior to the January 8 poll," he said.

"The pictures of this incident were used in their propaganda newspaper advertisements. The new government came to power with the pledge that it would protect free education and solve students' problems. However, the Ranil-Maithri Government that came to power with the pledge to follow good governance has also treated us in the same brutal manner. The Police chased after students and attacked them," he commented.

He observed the students were demonstrating peacefully asking for a meeting with the Higher Education Minister.

"We occupied only one lane out of the four lanes. It is the Police which had blocked the entire road by placing barriers. We were informed that the Minister, Deputy Minister and State Minister had been attending a meeting on 'Maga Neguma'. "The Police Spokesman said the Police used the minimum force on students. Then, what would be our plight if the Police had used the maximum force,"? Weerrasekera asked.

"We have no issue with the Police. We know that the Government is behind this attack," he stated.

He said a complaint into this incident was to be lodged at the Human Rights Commission yesterday, by the IUSF. He added the students at a number of state Universities were to hold demonstrations at those university premises over this matter yesterday. He further charged that the present Government was following the same policy as that of the Rajapaksa regime, to sell the education.

Students Collective to protect the HNDA Convener Dhammika Nuwan said they had written to the President on October 23 explaining their problems, but had not received any reply as yet.

He further said the Higher Education Minister had written to the Public Administration Ministry recommending to grant a degree equivalence to the HNDA, but, it had not proceeded further. He pointed out the government circular that was issued in October 2014 made it non-equivalent to a degree programme curtailing the four year programme by one year. 

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