2 December, 2021

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FUTA Condemns Government Violence Against Protesting Students

The Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) is appalled by the recent violence perpetrated against students and the destruction of state property, and deeply concerned by the fast deteriorating situation in the higher education sector in Sri Lanka. For over four months now medical faculty students within the state university system have boycotted lectures, and university student unions across the country, including the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF), have staged demonstrations, seeking a productive response from the government on the SAITM (South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine) crisis and related issues. FUTA too has recently re-launched its campaign to create awareness on a host of education-related concerns, including large-scale under- enrolment of students to the university system, excessive government regulation of higher education, and the precarious position and sustainability of state-funded higher education in the county.

Yesterday (21/06/2017) an IUSF protest march, which ended with students encroaching the Ministry of Health premises, was met with a level of unconscionable violence by the police – even the Special Task Force (STF) which was specifically created to combat the threat of militant terrorism in the country was deployed against unarmed students. FUTA does not condone the increasingly confrontational protest methods adopted by students, but at the same time the gratuitously violent state response should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. These are university students and future leaders of this country – if a government which came into power on the promise of ‘yahapalanaya’ and a rainbow coalition of liberal and progressive social forces reacts in this manner to a group of students, we are forced to question whether the same government remains committed in any substantive sense to the values and ideals which brought it to power.

FUTA also observes with alarm a repetitive pattern in how the Government is responding to student protests. This is not the first student protest that was met with police brutality. In the recent past, similar student protests have been countered with excessively violent police action, even in the face of public outrage afterwards. The right to protest is enshrined in the Constitution of Sri Lanka and is a feature of any democratic society. Free health care and free education have continued to be two central pillars of Sri Lankan society since independence and therefore it is natural for stakeholders in society to react passionately when they perceive that these fundamental aspects Sri Lankan society are being threatened.

Brutal and violent repression of legitimate protest must cease immediately. Conflicts and differences of opinion should be resolved through open informed discussion, which is free of violence and intimidation. We call upon the Government to intervene now and bring about a just and fair resolution to the SAITM crisis through a consultative rather than confrontational approach. Continued indifference to this issue will only lead to mass unrest in the national university system which this country can ill-afford at any time, but more so when it is confronted by multiple social and economic issues such as the dengue epidemic and the aftermath of devastating floods and drought.

The Government must stand by its commitment to recognize the right to protest and dissent. We were led to believe that violent repression of legitimate dissent was a thing of the past, but this appears not to be so. Violence and brutality against protesting students and others by the Government must stop today, and those responsible for ordering the excessive use of force must be held accountable. FUTA demands that the crisis in higher education be addressed as an urgent priority, and that the SAITM issue which is a symptomatic example of this crisis should be resolved immediately. (FUTA Statement)


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  • 7
    6

    FUTA is correct. All these Saboteurs should be treated as babies.

    • 19
      4

      I think it is high to provide them with the education not free.

      Free education have made them even more violent. If anyone that study by coming to UK or any other rich soils would never join to protest marches.

      These young students get paid their MBBS degrees by the tax payers funds. Tax payers are not respected today being subjected to consecutive strikes related blockages them not getting proper medicine.

      Sirlanka is an another poor country. It s mid income earning titles are just limited to their books. Some have been made rich by former bastard leaders. The countries wealth have been looted to the core. Nothing seem to work to conrer them legally due to lack of proper enforcement of law and order.
      However, students that get the admissions to local universities for free eudcation should be warned convincing them the harm them being done to state properies.
      Lanka state cant afford any kind of losses anymore.

      • 15
        3

        simon,
        Providing free education should not be a reason for the gov. to act any way they want. We have to expect responsibility from the gov. too. You talk about rich countries. Those richer countries respond to student concerns promptly. That is why you rarely see protests etc. Regarding this SAITM issue, how many more months/years do you think the Gov. needs to issue a final decision?? Though I don’t condone damaging state properties, what action has the Gov. taken to avoid such student unrest? Is the gov. taking any effort to get a solution to the problem in hand??

    • 11
      5

      FUTA is responsible for producing graduates of which almost 80% cannot Be gainfully employment. As a result they are forced to join the government sector or teaching. That is the track record of FUTA!!

      Uni students have no right to destroy public property and what right have they got to protest against SAITM?

      Hope GOSL have stopped payment of Mahapola payments to all protesting students. Happy to note that medical students have stopped going for lectures. Best that they permanently stop going for lectures if they have an attitude like this.

  • 12
    7

    You have to deal violence with equal violence! Lankan style

  • 18
    3

    FUTA, we are also appalled by the behavior of these future leaders and the gmoa. FUTA needs to establish whether these students are being manipulated by seedy elements slinking in the shadows also with a “repetitive pattern” and hidden agendas waiting to be unleashed. By saying this I do not condone the abysmal record, conduct (and responses) of this Govt.

  • 16
    3

    Are you speaking from your ass.? How many times these university apes destroyed common people’s time and money? Is it not harassing people? Can they destroy peoples properties (government properties are our properties)? Can they invade your premises without your permission? Are they babies? Did police charge them when they were chanting ” seth pirith”?
    Are those the lessons that you gave to them at the university? Before students, you should be taught to identify what is correct and what is wrong. Shame. If you want to get MR back tell it straight away.

    • 5
      7

      s.c.perera—————–I am sorry I have to disagree with you. ————-“Can they destroy peoples properties (government properties are our properties)?” ——-Seriously, who told you government properties are our properties? Not any more. Its been almost 45 years we consented to grant permission to transfer all state properties to ruling politicians and thieving state functionaries. ————— You should periodically update information regarding state laws written and mostly unwritten, and traditions prevailing on the day of discussion, …………..and established heritage by our predecessors. ……………….. To be constantly informed please visit this forum once in a while. Hopefully there would be someone to irritatingly update unpleasant latest developments in this island.

  • 7
    7

    KASmaalam KAS Sumanasekere—————–Its been quite a few years since the STF saw blood. The devil needs its regular fix.

    • 2
      1

      Dear Native………….. This is not the real STF……….This is Pujithaya’s UNP STF…….

      • 3
        1

        KASmaalam KAS Sumanasekere————“This is Pujithaya’s UNP STF” —————Thanks for the clarification. Does it mean unlike Gota’s STF, Pujithaya’s UNP STF won’t mercilessly kill unarmed people? ———-Very good news.

  • 13
    3

    This violence by the University students should stop forthwith. FUTA is a mad set of teachers who condone violence. These students do not have any right to harass people on the roads. It is the breakaway section of the JVP that is responsible for this attack. Their leaders should be taken into custody and given the treatment. The students should be caught and castrated so that their progeny do not come to this world.

    • 7
      5

      DPJ ———–“These students do not have any right to harass people on the roads.” ———— How come political gundas, policemen, the armed forces, ruling party trade unions, the bigots, the racists, the saffron clad thugs,………………….. have the automatic god given right to harass people? You should be consistent with harassment. —————————-“The students should be caught and castrated so that their progeny do not come to this world.” ———————————– Then what do you do with political gundas, policemen, the armed forces, ruling party trade unions, the bigots, the racists, the saffron clad thugs,………etc? You should be consistent with punishment as well. .

      • 9
        0

        Vedda,
        This time I agree with you!

        • 6
          5

          Nuisance ——–“This time I agree with you!” ——————–Then I must be wrong.

          • 9
            2

            That is the problem with you. It is hard for you to figure out what is wrong and what is right!

  • 8
    2

    Students should be students not politicians while in University. Did FUTA forget that bit??

    • 8
      3

      M————————-“Students should be students not politicians while in University.”—————-Of course you are right provided politicians are politicians, —-policemen are policemen, ——monks are monks not being thugs, —-army is army protecting the people not killing them, —–academics are academics learning, ——researching and teaching , historians are historians not creative writers, ——–state functionaries are servants of the people and not masters of the people, ……… people are people, human are human, ——doctors are doctors not money making robots, ——-Judges are judges keeping in mind they are dealing with justice not colluding with crooks, …………………………………………………………. etc.

  • 3
    2

    While the concern of FUTA is legitimate and the right to protest has to be respected, the videos of the protest show that the students were not protesting peacefully. This was expected. Otherwise why have the STF there? Somehow, it seems that there is a breaking down of order again.

    I was there at Thurston Road Campus prior to the JVP uprising. Police brutality had begun well before the uprising against disgruntled students who, taught Pali and Sanskrit, knew they had no future.. Finally, there was the conflagration. Many Sinhala students did not come back after the university resumed. They must have been killed. No questions were asked then. So, now there is a larger number of missing persons. The Government wants the episodes to be forgotten. That will not be right for there will be repetitions of the same conduct by Governments composed of racist and self-profitting thugs who leech the economy, suck blood out of the people and kill their young who seek to resist. We must shout loud against this. The issue could be more sensitively handled. Why must the Buddhist state resort to such violence?

  • 4
    1

    This nation is rapidly becoming an autocracy run by MPs, 94 of whom are not even O Level qualified, and who got ‘elected’ by thuggery, bribery & deception.
    This president won because the former one was corrupt and people thought that he will be just and fair to all communities, and enforce the law. The judiciary backs him as he appoints PCs.

    But, now the mutts in parliament think that they are above the law.
    Hammering protesting students is a sign of autocracy and dictatorship.

    The Minister of Health is a dentist and not a doctor.
    He feels that his non-existent ‘prestige’ is violated, hence the attack on students.
    The police & STF too are O Level educated thugs and like hammering future elite citizens.
    This regime purposely ignores the facts that a politician – SBDissanayake gazetted SAITM without any reference/consultation, and a minister’s daughter in law too enrolled in SAITM, which was commenced by Neville Fernando purely as a commercial enterprise and who lied and lied to encouraged rich children to enrol – he now wants SAITM listed in the exchange.

  • 1
    10

    Why most of the students at SAITM are either Muslims or Christians? They did their own grave regardless of where they go.

    • 12
      2

      Jim
      That is because they are wealthier than an average Buddhist and also their parents school them at catholic/christian institutions where they are better prepared with English and to make them socially more acceptable. What have our Buddhist priest done for the Buddhists other than burning Muslim/christian churches, businesses and foul mouthing? We sit them on white sheets and worship these mostly uneducated socially backward souls just because of our admiration for Lord Buddha. You think we are doing the right thing?

      • 1
        5

        You are a disgrace to Budhists!

        • 6
          1

          Jim,
          Since when telling the truth became a disgrace to Buddhism? Which lord Buddha are you following? Where did lord Buddha tell us to denigrate other religions and minorities?
          You and the BBS are Buddhists whose only aim is to disparage none Buddhist. Please follow teachings of Lord Buddha and live according to them. You don’t need Bikkhus to live as a Buddhist. Resent these Bikkhus who are involved in criminal activities and politics. Bikkhus need to earn respect and admiration not demand.

          • 0
            2

            If you have mindset like that , they will walk all over us. Then Tamils will want the north. Muslims would want the east. Estate Tamils will want the central. We will get whatever left behind. We will be migrants in our homeland.

            • 3
              1

              jim,
              I feel ashamed of the way a Buddhist like you think. Religion has nothing to do with people asking for autonomy. Was it a religious war what we had with the Tamils? Did any of these groups you list brought up religion as the sole reason? If any group asks for autonomy it was because of their population dominance in the region.
              As you may already know I am totally against dividing SL to satisfy any ethnic group or religious group. Sri Lanka should be one country with all ethnic/religious groups living in harmony. But at the same time we should not be reiterating every second that SL is a Sinhalese Buddhist country. And should not be disparaging other religions, like what I see these Bikkhus are doing. The very reason I have no respect towards them. I live a life with Lord Buddha’s teachings and I keep these Bikkhus out of my life.

              • 1
                0

                Eusense

                For once I am with you! If this is what you really feel I have to agree with you.

                • 3
                  1

                  shri,
                  As a Sinhalese Buddhist I can speak the truth. If you do, unfortunately you will be branded as a anti Buddhist/Sinhalese racist Tamil.

  • 7
    1

    FuTA is trying to be another GMOA. These guys are living in world created by them and for them..bloddy idiots.

  • 8
    0

    People’s right show dissent in public in a peaceful manner is a different thing from what these IUSF clowns did. They broke into a ministry, harassed staff, damaged property and simply caused utter chaos. I would say the police and STF acted with restrained. If I barged into a ministry doing the things these IUSF idiots did, security would have put a bullet in my head. Don’t confuse right to protest with thuggery.

  • 8
    0

    FUTA – are you mad? The moment students turn violent you will close the university! But you expect the State to sit back and watch while these monkeys destroy public property? Unlike you FUTA types, the tax-paying public does not want to bear that cost!

    Oh! and another thing! These jokers protest against SAITM because they only want FREE education. However, what should be promoted is FREEDOM of education. The right is not to free education, but to freedom of education!

    Should SAITM be regulated? Yes, of course! But then again, many of the medical faculties in the country have worse standards. As for the standards of doctors – well if the GMOA is anything to go by, they don’t seem to have much ethics there! So let’s have regulation. Let’s have regulation for ALL medical institutions, not just the private ones!

    The general public is not fooled – these protests are instigated by GMOA purely to maintain its monopoly. Selfish motives are apparent when they also demand more duty free permits and places in colombo schools for their children!

  • 4
    2

    Why is the government taking much interest in SAITEM, a private institution and try to protect it? We know some ministers sons and daughters need medical degree easily. We support university students and the way government and some ministers are taking policy decision will lead to another war in the country. I fear this time youth will be not Tamils and Muslims, but all students including all community will join. This is not the country of ministers. They are not given to freedom as blank check to take any decision they want. They need to consult with stake holders. Ministry of Education and NIE are dustbins of the country. Some fools are running these institutions in the name of administrators. They are taking decisions. Ministers has not even studied his own power. According to College of Education Act. minister has to appoint a board of experts to take policy decision. Poor minister who does not know even this. Ranil spoiled the education of the country by appointing wrong persons as ministers of education. A large sum of money are spent on teacher training without any benefit to the country.

    We are disappointed for voting this government. Next time a new government without corrupt MR will be in the country given the policy decisions taken in the country in the ministry of education, Rubbish NIE and UGC.

    Dr. Nanayakara

  • 2
    2

    The President and PM are the first set who are causing injustice to its citizens by way of denying solutions that are available. Both don’t have a future plan other than preparing for the next election to win its number of seats. To do this they are virtually offering undue privileges to all the controlling forces to protect the rulers and suppress the civilians of voicing against unfair actions of the government. Govt. Ministers are talking rubbish in the parliament wasting public funds. It is better to hold a national election and appoint a govt. sympathetic to the needs of the citizens. Those wearing uniform must realize that they too are going to enjoy the same fate as the civilians once they remove their uniform.

  • 5
    2

    The right to protest was hard won last century. FUTA is pointing out that this right is sacred. The SAITM issue is about creation of elites in elitist ridden Colombo. The student is being put down harshly by police but this time ably assisted by the Lankan Amy flaunting SFT on their headgear. The GoSL is protecting the privileged. Remember the previous GoSL shooting down people demanding clean water? That time a detergent company was under orders to be protected.
    Should students have the right to protest? Remember the end of the Vietnam war started with US student protest. UK student protests contributed to the dismantlement of the then Apartheid regime in south Africa.

  • 3
    3

    This SAITM issue is actually a non-issue… There is no need for anyone to strike and cause chaos because of SAITM… This issue is an excuse for the man who stole tsunami funds and his bro, the Gotaya, to cause havoc and unrest – This is their Vile plan of trying to topple this Government this year… The ‘Punk Monks with Guns’ is all apart of this plan… It is so clear…

    Mr President??? Mr PM??? You better pull your socks up fast and kick some ass… Maybe you need an expert, maybe you should hire Doc Mervin Silva, am sure he will sort this issue out and tie some to trees too in the rush…

  • 1
    1

    Has Dr Ranil’s ETCA put a rocket up FUTA’s ass……. It was not long ago, In fact , it was only less than 3 years ago, these donkeys were parading in Colombo to bring Dr Ranil into power……….How can they educate our future Uni Grads ,if they didn’t know what Dr Ranil and his UNP stand for………. Even Dr Ranil’s close mates in the Cabinet , openly declared that they were in the wilderness for two decades and they desperately want a piece of cake first……… That explains the big ass rorts of the Yhalana first two years…….But the main game had to be put back a bit, because the good citizens went up in arms at the injustice of Dr Ranil giving his Tamil mate from Singapore, 11 Billion of Yhapalana Tax payers money………With only less than 3 years remaining , they have a lot of unfinished Business of their ” Mission Statement.”….. …..Break the back of the Sinhala Buddhist Society…… Get the NGOs to convert as many as possible…… Give Wahabis a Homeland too , to go along with the Tamils. there by breaking up the country , so that the Sinhala Buddhists will never have the influence which they had for 2500 years under the guardianship of Mahasanga….. ….. Expunge Buddhism from the Constitution , Get the Malawatta Prelate to write new Code of Practice for Buddhism, ( in Dr Ranil’s own words ) Privatize Education , Force the poor rural inhabitants who are the back bone, to learn Hair Dressing, Dress Making and Assembly jobs in Indian car factories… So there won’t be any Medical students to protest against SAITMS which will come in Dozens from Hindustan……To top it , Dr Ranil will force the FUTA even to to split into two……..Local and Indian FUTA. under ETCA………

  • 1
    1

    The doctors in Sri Lanka are not selfless. They work at government hospitals and then at private hospitals where they earn more. They have become greedy, like every one else, including the Buddhist priests (can’t say their names as the Mahanayake has issued a fatwa). It is this greed that seeks to ensure that medical practice is limited to a few people. The nonsense about standards is just hogwash. People coming from overseas are allowed in without much scrutiny. People who studied medicine in private schools practice overseas. As long as the government oversees standards and regulates fees, private schools should be permitted.

    But, this neo-liberal urge to set up private institutions should be scrutinised. If there is a need to be met, why cannot the government set up new schools to meet the demand and perhaps levy fee through a state entity, ensuring that the bright students are allowed to study free.?

    Access to medicine as well as access to medical education must be ensured. The notion that doctors can control it does not seem sound. It amounts to a monopolistic practice.

  • 0
    0

    Doctors strike Sri Lanka style:

    “ECONOMYNEXT – A government doctor who was engaging in private practice charging fees during a strike organized by the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) was caught on camera running away without shoes.

    The GMOA is trying to close down SAITM, a private medical college, in a bid to deny education freedoms of parents and students. GMOA doctors have earned their degrees at tax payer expense.

    State-run Rupavahini television in its facebook page showed footage of a doctor in a private clinic running away barefoot from a cameraman. “

  • 3
    0

    “FUTA Condemns Government Violence Against Protesting Students”

    how come they don’t condemn the violence by the students by trashing the health ministry.Isn’t that our tax money?

    regarding SAITM the government should just bring in legislation to see that only those getting minimum 3B’s at the A level can enter it.At the moment those with loads of money and very little A levels are entering and becoming doctors and that is creating friction naturally between the GMOA and SAITM.Get rid of this anomaly in entrance requirements and i think all will be well then.

  • 2
    1

    Students should behave as students. Not like thugs and hooligans.

  • 2
    0

    I don’t want to talk about the ‘problem’. There is no point. Using University students for political purposes has a long history. It happened before, it is happening now and it will happen in future.

    Whatever political views we have, attacking students is unacceptable. Vandalism caused by University students at the Health Ministry is also unacceptable. The refusal by Government Doctors to treat injured Police Officers is unprofessional, unforgivable and below all ethics. Disciplinary action should be taken against them.

    Let’s talk about a different approach. Out of all qualified students for University, 65,000 students are deprived of their right to University Education annually, due to lack of space in State Universities. The top 25,000 who are selected for Universities based on A/L results, seem to be more interested in politics than studies. As a result, a considerable number of students might be staying in Universities beyond required period. I see this as an injustice to other students who lost opportunities for University education.

    The Government should look into possibilities for introducing

    (1) Part Time on Campus

    (2) Full time Online and

    (3) Part Time Online

    Graduate Studies, Diplomas and Certificate Programmes in State Universities for students who were/are deprived of High Education for no fault on their part.

    If Practical Sessions are required, facilities should be availble them too, while giving priority to Full time On Campus Students.

    The current students have no right to object as State Universities are not their ancestral properties. They belong to entire citizenry. Every parent in the country has a right to seek Higher Education opportunities for their children. University students and Politicians both are similar. They both come and go. Both should remember that their staying is not permanent and their leaving is inevitable.

  • 0
    0

    Is there any use for a Government which does not solve a problem, due to personal reasons of it’s Ministers and hangers on? What is the % of GDP allocated for education? Allocation is less than in Bangladesh. I hope the scenario which will unfold in the next few days will enlighten everybody to the fact that this was something that should have been done, without all this inconvenience to the public and the waste of resources.

  • 1
    1

    Unfortunately FUTA has backed the wrong horse. May be they are scared of the repercussions they would have to face from these miscreant students. The police at last has acted without any fear to bring law and order without bowing down to political backlash. These students who enter the universities and obtaining free education, scholarships, etc at public expense should complete their education and come out and service the people to give back what they got. Instead they join student unions organised by politically affiliated criminals and create havoc inconveniencing the public and damaging public property for which the people will have to pay again. These social pariahs should be put behind bars for life. I would prefer to send my child to a private university without letting them be turned to terrorists in state universities.

  • 3
    2

    It is high time that we in SL adopt what the French did during the Revolution burn the priests alive, roast them.The safron robed rogues well fed pigs are nothing but mudalalis.If the safron robed guys protest again let give them in the tummy with dum dum bullets.

    Regarding the Universities, we should close them down through a period of five years, force the jokers to study in English, if they fail tie their legs and throw them into the sea.What about the malayan crocs who like human flesh.

  • 0
    0

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  • 0
    0

    FUTA says SAITM issue must be resolved ‘cos of violence and brutality. It must be solved to give justice to an approved course and exam. MBBS as the GMOA/SLMC suddenly imprisoned them in their campus through meeting President who is concerned about Dengue. We must remember HE and MP Rajitha are invited to attend “international dengue” soon. The virus and mosquito are no respectors of persons and will carry on regardless..
    GMOA offered the bloodless path to take over SAITM unlike the Carlo take over of NCMC over 25 years ago. There is nothing new under the sun. SLMC dictatorship is not accountable to any, hence the verdict of internship to SAITM. GMOA dictatorship has AP in courts for contempt of courts. The violence of this cover up had IUSF leader arrested. Prez says job agencies funding as they lose. Govt. is clueless about take over citing non est private education in Manipal/Monash 7 yrs. on. SAITM needs to be nationalized now and attached to an existing uni, without chaotic ignorance.

  • 0
    1

    Ministry of health should not take the responsibility of providing it”s Teaching Hospitals to Universities in future.Ministry of higher education should take this responsibility.If this happen there wan”t be any strikes or damages to health ministry and patients.

  • 0
    1

    FUTA members also do the same thing. You see how they robbed poor tax payers money by covering to the fake titles. More than 98% Sri Lankan Profs are fakes ones. Without publications from right indexed journals and without PhDs from right world class Universities how they become professors. Therefore students and both FUTA members are destroying public funds.

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