23 October, 2017

This Government Is Unable To Tolerate Dissent – Even Peaceful Protest: FUTA

The Federation of University Teachers (FUTA) has strongly condemned the suppression of student activists in recent times.

Prof. Arjuna Parakrama

“The most recent incident, the violent suppression by the police of the peaceful protest at Lipton Circle, followed by the arrest of 13 students shows the brutality of state action against university students,” the FUTA said in a statement.

Issuing a statement yesterday, the Secretary of the FUTA, Prof. Arjuna Parakrama said: “As witnessed by several academics who were present at Lipton Circle during this incident, the ‘occupation’ by the medical students of the Lipton Circle was peaceful and it was not disturbing anyone: the traffic was not disrupted, none of the activities in the area was disturbed. Yet, the police arrived with a court order, accompanied by the riot police and water cannons and ordered the students to leave within 15 minutes. When they did not do so, they were chased away by baton-wielding police and pelted with water. Within minutes the banners put up by the students were torn off; the shelters they had built on the roundabout were demolished. We also note that there were several people not in police uniform who arrived with the police to participate in the demolition work. It was an extremely efficient and brutal display of state intolerance of dissent.

“This incident demonstrates the fact that this government is unable to tolerate dissent – even peaceful protest. It has demonstrated utter contempt for democratic values, freedom of speech and the rights to protest – all values that it claims to uphold and boasts that it restored after it came to power. This government has now lost any legitimacy it may have had of being the government of ‘good governance’. Worryingly, the Government seems to be using the law to block dissent and to detain student leaders. The attempted arrest of Ryan Jayalath, Convenor of the Medical Students Action Committees, is another instance where the response and behaviour of law enforcement officials was entirely out of proportion. We cannot forget the fact that this country has seen repeated instances of disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention and the politicisation of state machinery to crush dissent in its post-independence history. The militarised apparatus that has been steadily built up for this purpose is evidently still intact.

“We demand that the Government uphold the right of dissent and protest of all, and that it immediately ceases the suppression of student activists. We call upon the Government to heed the strength of public resistance to its policy on SAITM and to engage in a meaningful and honest effort to resolve the crisis brought about as a result of SAITM.

“We extend our sincere concern to the students who faced violence as a result of government brutality, and also those who have been arrested while engaging in protests. We will continue to uphold the right to protest and express dissent, and resort to whatever means available to us to show our condemnation of the Government’s actions.”

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Latest comments

  • 2
    1

    All these are garbage articles and garbage comments. Every one is protesting. They protested during the last govt they do it now. Every one wants to be in the palriament. So, they are misleading. Sea How one Lawyer went to BOI. He did nothing except praising Maithripala as Mandela. IT is like that. All these idiots think mahinda rajapakse or Ranil are the saviours. they all proved they can not do it. Maithripala is also allowing his daughter to be rich. You know how. Sri lankan can not be developed. Politicians are always for they themselves. Journalists write anything and everything if it helps them. IT is the same with bureaucrats. Those who can not earn from the job protest. It is mess. Some buddhist monks are part of the gang. Instead suggest solutions. YOu people are protesting and wasting time and resources. When a prof says he can influence stupid students, that is self-centeredness.

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    It is not difficult to understand Professor Arjuna’s concern for students. I do agree generally with him. The police and armed forces have treated students brutally on different occasions. I was a student during the JVP uprising. Many of my Sinhalese batch mates simply did not return after the uprising had been quelled through brutal liquidation of almost every youth in the South of the country. In that context, the use of brutal techniques against the young must be frowned upon. But, on this particular occasion, there seemed to have been damage caused to public property. Students must ensure that when they protest, the cause of the protest is known to the public and there is public sympathy for the protest. The manner of the protest is also important. FUTA perhaps was wrong in a blank endorsement of what happened.

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    RW is a neo-liberal mind. He never has a feeling of patriotism or humanity towards people. He is one who has tolerated the Premadsa regime and who sided with Ranjan Wijerathna in executing thousands of Sinhalese youth and later using the LTTE to attack IPKF and letting the Tamils be killed by India itself. This regime has no policy either on suppression or democracy. It has only talked about idealism but in practice realizes that it too has to act like MR regime. But think of the kind of solutions it has offered for SAITM. Whatever the middle-class, English speaking fools utter here the majority of this kind remain in dire poverty. Several districts are currently undergoing sever droughts and the flood-affected people are still in camps or their houses are yet to be given; plantation sector is having the same pathetic life; Northern region remains the same and that’s why people are angry and hot at a police man. In such a context, AP has become a victim of arm-chair critics here who lick the left-overs by Ravi Karunanayake and Arjun Alocious. AP has fought for injustice everywhere. He never cares for the type or class of people, being a friend of Richard de Zoysa he too has same strength and intent and feel sympathy for lower class people and marginalized in this country.

    We never want to keep this government for long and tell the world that this is better than the previous one which may be little true. Jimsoftly and all anonymous buggers and non-Sri Lankans, may be ones like Wonder-Poverty of Philosophy Ten (or million) should understand that students of this country is a concern for genuine academics. You guys may like this regime because it has something for you, but we the majority, the majority of under-privileged can not offer our support twice for this regime, let Ranil be clean again; has he uttered a single word against Arjuna Mahendran, Rajitha Senarathne, Ravi Karunanayake, Duminda Dissnayake, Arjuna Alocious but he wants the treasury to pay the debt of Nevile Fernando.

    This regime is a classic example tyranny of minority; the minority corrupt aristocrats who rule the country. The poor will rise up soon and let you feel the democracy in Aristotelian sense, so prepare all blood-suckers of the workers, plantation Tamils, farmers, and poor people of this country. Your middle-class comfort is going to end soon and either GOTA or AKD of JVP are sure to give all these buggers a real time sooooon…..

  • 0
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    Ultimately, the question is about the privatization of education in the country. We have had a proud record of public eduction, though it has become diluted as a result of the language policy. It cannot be pretended that the education standards are the same in the different language streams. Nevertheless, the concept of public education has been a good one, enabling, in theory, all the young to aspire to university eduction. If the quality of such education is diluted by the mushrooming of private institutions, without control, it becomes a matter of concern. SAITM is a start. It is good that concern is being expressed about it. The public must take up this matter. It must not put the burden on the students. The GMOA’s concern seems rather fake. Many of them serve in private hospitals and are not at all concerned with ideological issues involved. They are simply buttering their bread on both sides. This must be made a public issue which is carefully debated. If we start privatizing education, the process could extend to other areas such as health (already), water, electricity and other essential services.

    • 0
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      Mama Sinhalam, Public education in SL is a joke, with the JVP and the breakaway group’s atrocious activity.

      It is high time the Govt does act to remedy this situation. In short biotag all the students sitting the Advanced Level exam.Conduct the University courses in English language – that will help the graduates to find employment abroad without wasting their time at the Fiort Railway station, cost each course and get the graduates to pay up once they qualify.

    • 0
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      Let the Padeniyas of the GMOA treat the patients at the Private hospitals free of charge.
      The GMOA blocked the Auyrvedic students being taught pharmacology by GMOA members.they fought and stopped the Apothecaries course, they created problems for the 4 year course at Peradeniya, they place obstacles in the face of Doctors educated abroad at the ACT 16 exam and mint millions, now the SAITM.

      GMOA should fight to reduce the milking of patients at the Private hospitals so called Channelling

      It is high time that the Govt resort to the use of drug induced thugs on the GMOA.

  • 2
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    “This Government Is Unable To Tolerate Dissent – Even Peaceful Protest: FUTA” Dr. Parakrama, pray inform us when was the so called peaceful dissent take place since Jan 8th 2015.

    Few years ago and about a year ago FUTA demanded a 6% allocation for education? Being educationists DR. Parakrama pray tell us how that 6% is to be financed?

    Dr. Parakrama, pray tell us how you hope to ensure that all graduates find employment be it in SL or abroad?

    Too many questions and too many bluffs on your part.

  • 0
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