27 September, 2020

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‘Ensure The Personal Security Of Dr. Dewasiri And His Family’ The FUTA Asks Rajapaksa

By Colombo Telegraph –

“We call upon His Excellency the President to ensure the personal security of  Dr. Dewasiri and his family and of all university academics in general and to give us a guarantee that we can continue to exercise our rights as we have done for decades in the past. ” says the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA).

Dr. Niramal

Issuing a statement today the FUTA says ” On June 13th 2012, FUTA notified the relevant authorities that it would launch a trade union action on 4th July in furtherance of these demands.  Immediately following the declaration of the aforesaid trade union action, a process of intimidation, threatening and mud slinging was launched against the FUTA President, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of History, University of Colombo.  On the afternoon of 19th June, individuals claiming to be from the Ministry of Defence approached his neighbours’ houses and made inquiries about his and his daughter’s movements. They also asked to be allowed to climb over a neighbour’s wall to see the number plate of Dr. Dewasiri. These individuals have been loitering in the vicinity of  Dr. Dewasiri’s house for several hours. On a previous day too, the same individuals had inquired about Dr. Dewasiri’s household claiming that a person from his household had applied for a foreign employment. Dr. Dewasiri lodged complaints over these suspicious activities at the Maharagama Police Station (CIB 144/295) on the advice of the Inspector General of Police (IGP)’s office.  FUTA also alerted  the IGP, the Secretaries to the Ministries of Defence and Higher Education.”

“The following day the FUTA representatives held a meeting with the Minister of Higher Education and his officials and in the course of the discussion the delegates informed the Minister about the said incidents.  The Minister claimed ignorance of the incident and took the view that this might have been a concocted story. FUTA held a press conference on 22nd June during which Dr. Dewasiri reiterated the stand of the FUTA and its determination to continue with the trade union action.  After a short while the conference ended, he received a phone call from an individual claiming to be a university student and stated that Dr. Dewasiri was ruining his future. Further, he threatened the lives of him, his family and intimated that he knew the movements of his family.  This attempt at intimidation by levelling threats of a criminal nature to Dr Dewasiri and his family in the name of university students should be vehemently condemned by a civilized society. ” the FUTA further says.

We produce below the full text of the statement by the FUTA;

Department of History,

University of Colombo, Colombo 03

Tele: 0718016200 /E-mail: nrdewasiri@gmail.com


June 23, 2012

 

STATEMENT FROM FUTA REGARDING THREATS AGAINST DR NIRMAL RANJITH DEWASIRI, THE PRESIDENT OF FUTA

 

University academics in Sri Lanka have been exercising their rights of freedom of thought and expression, association and peaceful assembly and articulating broader issues of national concern for many decades.  Academics have also exercised trade union rights during this period. The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) is the umbrella trade union of nearly 43 sister unions representing the academics of 14 universities of the country.  Over the last several years, FUTA has been actively engaged in improving the working environment of Sri Lankan universities, and has resorted to various forms of trade union actions when and where necessary.

While FUTA’s main call was originally for the recognition and rewarding of the academic profession in a manner that enables universities to recruit and retain the best qualified academics the past year has seen FUTA’s platform broaden in response to the myriad problems within the university system. The FUTA has been lobbying and campaigning for higher investment in entire education of the country, against the increasing interference of the Minister of Higher Education in the management of universities including academic matters, political interference in appointing Vice Chancellors, blatant violations of the Universities Act and the attempt to pass a new law governing universities without consultation of academics or other stakeholders.

Currently, the FUTA is campaigning with the intention of constructively engaging with the government in fulfilling its responsibilities towards protecting and strengthening the public education sector including universities.  We are asking for a process to be initiated in good faith and in consultation of university academics to revitalize the public universities in the country.  Upon failing to arrive at consensus in achieving the aforesaid objectives, we have been compelled to resort to trade union action.

On June 13th 2012, FUTA notified the relevant authorities that it would launch a trade union action on 4th July in furtherance of these demands.  Immediately following the declaration of the aforesaid trade union action, a process of intimidation, threatening and mud slinging was launched against the FUTA President, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of History, University of Colombo.  On the afternoon of 19th June, individuals claiming to be from the Ministry of Defence approached his neighbours’ houses and made inquiries about his and his daughter’s movements. They also asked to be allowed to climb over a neighbour’s wall to see the number plate of Dr. Dewasiri. These individuals have been loitering in the vicinity of  Dr. Dewasiri’s house for several hours. On a previous day too, the same individuals had inquired about Dr. Dewasiri’s household claiming that a person from his household had applied for a foreign employment. Dr. Dewasiri lodged complaints over these suspicious activities at the Maharagama Police Station (CIB 144/295) on the advice of the Inspector General of Police (IGP)’s office.  FUTA also alerted  the IGP, the Secretaries to the Ministries of Defence and Higher Education.

The following day the FUTA representatives held a meeting with the Minister of Higher Education and his officials and in the course of the discussion the delegates informed the Minister about the said incidents.  The Minister claimed ignorance of the incident and took the view that this might have been a concocted story.

FUTA held a press conference on 22nd June during which Dr. Dewasiri reiterated the stand of the FUTA and its determination to continue with the trade union action.  After a short while the conference ended, he received a phone call from an individual claiming to be a university student and stated that Dr. Dewasiri was ruining his future. Further, he threatened the lives of him, his family and intimated that he knew the movements of his family.  This attempt at intimidation by levelling threats of a criminal nature to Dr Dewasiri and his family in the name of university students should be vehemently condemned by a civilized society.

FUTA and all university academics strongly condemn these threats against its President Dr. Dewasiri and voice the extreme concern over the safety of Dr. Dewasiri and his family.  Furthermore, the FUTA condemns these attempts to obstruct university academics’ constitutional right to engage in trade union actions through  intimidation and harassment. As an academic community, we uphold the values of freedom of thought, expression, right to association and peaceful assembly.  We also reiterate that FUTA trade union action has always been peaceful and within the bounds of the law.

We call upon His Excellency the President to ensure the personal security of  Dr. Dewasiri and his family and of all university academics in general and to give us a guarantee that we can continue to exercise our rights as we have done for decades in the past.

FUTA and all university academics assert that we will not be deterred from our course of action to protect higher education in Sri Lanka through these tactics, and will continue by all legitimate means to win our demands.

Signed.

Dr. Terrence Madhujith

Secretary

Related Posts ;  Gota’s Critic Dr Niramal To Be Whitevaned

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Latest comments

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    Dr NirmalDewasiri is one of the few outspoken intellectuals left- a critical, inquiring mind, a vast expanse of knowledge and a leading, fearless advocate of democratic freedom and human rights. He is a vanguard fighter in the defense of academic freedom and the right of education. He is respected for his professional and moral integrity. He is a voice of the people and a conscience of society.

    All decent, progressive people must come forward to denounce and oppose this form of State-endorsed terrorism. It even seems to be getting out of control, with semi-autonomous centers of power, each unleashing its own pack of dogs of terror. Katuwana killings and the complicity of the law enforcement agencies and the impunity enjoyed by murderers and criminal gangs speak of even darker days to come, with terror stalking at every corner.

    Dr. Nirmal is a symbol of struggle, and so has FUTA come to represent the voice of democracy and freedom.

    HANDS OFF NIRMAL!

    Surendra:
    Sec:
    Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist)

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      Surendra, You should change your party name to “Lame duck and Looney Party” and symbolise it with two-balls. Then you should try to educate your mates like Dewasiri of the FUTA (Former Urban-farmers but Total Ass-hol*s) as to who they really are. Now listen, there are stronger critics of the government but this guy does it only when the wind is not favourable to him. It is easier for him to do so, while being an academic only working part-time but looked after by the public. What profound contribution they have had on the society? Not much I am afraid, they are identical to school teachers but with lower degree of responsibility. When Kannangara introduced the free education for all,he did so because he didn’t want only a class of people to benefit from education. When the British abolished the caste and class syetm, they also had genuine thoughts about the wider society. When Sinhala was made the national language (yes Tamil should have been included as well), it was done to give the majority of the population a chance. People like Dewasiri would not be there quite possibly if none or any of those incidents occured. But the lot who benefitted the most from those generosities, want the systems reversed, what an irony!!!!Dewasiri and his lot now demand special rights for their kids in school admissions (to popular schools). So their kids are more important than any other public servent’s or anybody else’s for that matter, what a selfish toshpot he is!And Surendra want the public to back the lot…no wonder he runs a party whose entire membership can be accomodated in a three wheeler.

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        Rupert Vanderkoon:

        For decades, politicians all over the Island were sending their children to Colombo schools. As, most of the time, politicians’ children won’t be qualified to enter the university they choose to go to foreign universities on special scholarships.

        Even the private medical, the earlier one, had a home Science student of a politician who later became a doctor.

        I heard, now the present medical college has 62 children as medical students all of whom are children of Doctors. So, when the family connection is the only qualification, why it is wrong to ask favourations for their children.

        I know many parents, leave Sri Lanka and migrate overseas to educate their children.

        I heard, many parents choose international schools in Colombo in order to have some edge over other children.

        So, If devasiri is fighting for his children why it is wrong ?

        If the govt is not addressing what they also deserve, instead of leaving the country he is fighting for what he wants.

        Please comments to this.

        • 0
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          Thalaivar,
          Intimidation must not only be condemned, but every attampt has to be made to bring the perpetrators to justice, there is no question about that. I was only commenting on Dewasiri’s disgusting demand and Surendra’s love affair with any kind of a protestor, regardless of the nature of their demands. It is fun to have a small party or an NGO in Colombo and release statements to media backing anybody who opposes the government. But you have to tell them how unreasonable they are..otherwise, if they are also like the rest of the political setup, what is the point of anything?
          Anyway, it is very sad to see your comments. What essentially you say is we must legalise nepotism, corruption and abuse of public trust. That is what the politicians are there for. We must fight against them boy. Dewasiri, as a man who has been looked after by the public for his entire life, if interested in public service, he should not promote nepotism, but help the system reorganise to help everybody. Here, what he demands is, his children be placed above the rest of the children.

          Sending politicians’ kids to Colombo schools has stopped to a great deal now with new centralised admissions system. However, it may still not be perfect but at least there is a system. Rather than trying to tear the system apart, and to corrupt it, saviours of Free-education must fight for a fair deal for everybody, not only for their own children. They must fight to make the system more perfect, not the reverse.
          When the Private medical college saga happened in 1980’s, my friend entered the college and now he is a doctor, he had 3 simple passes in his A/L. He wouldn’t have gone anywhere near even a Science Faculty with that result. But that was why the doctors and students fought hard to nationalise the PMC. They made sure that everybody deserved, not just the children of the doctors, had fair access to the medical colleges that way. Here Dewasiri demands, his children be made ‘special’ ahead of others. Isn’t that nepotism? How deranged and loathsome hypocritical crones he and his organisation are? They can demand anything, high salaries, duty free cars, high pensions or even bigamy but demanding to tamper with a fair structure as Free-education, which is not fair on the future of the society. Kannangara shared his earnest aspirations with the society by ensuring everybody had fair access to education and those who benefitted from the very generous scheme now want turn back a page in history and turn it a system for the privileged. Is that fair? Dewasiri is entitled to fight for his kids, but not at the expense of the general public who pays him and most definitely not by tampering with a fair mechanism like the Free-education. As I keep saying, the irony is, the free-education was the very system that made people like Dewasiri. If not for that system, he would most certainly not be in that seat. He should fight to make it even fairer not to make it accessible only to the privileged, which is disgusting and really low. It was Aristotle who said, Teachers who educate children deserve more honor than parents who merely gave birth. How wrong he was, judging by these teachers like Dewasiri and FUTA.

  • 0
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    Rubert

    Isn’t the question at hand about the freedom of citizens to speak and protest? Dr. Dewasiri may be out of line, and demanding unfair treatment, but how does a civilised society justify the intimidation of such a person in this way? I would have thought, much like the arguments put forward by you, those who want to ‘silence’ him would go about achieving it in the spirit of free speech. Show him to be wrong through the use of logical and detailed argument. Instead what we seem tos ee more often than not in Sri Lanka is the silencing of opponents using intimidation and violence.

    The concern many in Sri Lanka share is not whether or not this person is justified saying or demanding what he is saying or demanding, rather how it is that his actions have lead to him being intimidated in this way, and how local authorities, who only recently defeated a global terrorist organisation, can’t seem to be able to capture or control such movements.

    • 0
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      These could be the signs for the general public- that the current rulers are on the track similar to that is being practised in North Korea.Singing the song further about the MILLITRY DEFEAT AGAINST LTTEers within the country- they can continue brainwashing tactics knowing the fact that the majority make up of easily manipulative, naive folk. When carrying out opinion polls, this will surely come to light. The responsible ones are obliged to feed the nation with veritable information not surreal reality.

  • 0
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    Civil society must commend the work of Dr Dewasiri for having the courage to stand up to tyranny. Not many of us have done the same except comment on websites. He should be commended and admired indeed.

  • 0
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    PRESIDENT TO GURANTEE THE SAFTY ????? THIS IS FOOLISHNESS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER.

    IF YOU NEED ANY CONSULTATIONS ON THIS ASK VIJAY NABIAR , HE WILL ADVISE YOU

  • 0
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    suz knows dr dewasiri now sound like hidden leader of peratugami….very good..futa is in a wrong track.

  • 0
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    I AM DEWASIRI PERERA,PLEASE I LIKE TALK WITH YOU,

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