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 Education handed over to an executioner “ JVP

Education handed over to an executioner “ JVP

2013 Jun 06

Education in the country has been handed over to an individual whose main interest is privatization says the Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Bimal Rathnayake and condemned the attack on the just struggle of the students of Rajarata University by the political police of the Rajapaksa regime.

Speaking at a special media conference held at the JVP head office at Pelawatta today (2nd) Mr. Rathnayake said, “An unprecedented destruction of education in the country has taken place during the past thirty to forty years.  Also, Minister S.B. Dissanayake , appointed on the necessity of President Mahinda Rajapaksa  to destroy education, is engaged in destroying universities, suppressing students and university teachers and privatizing education. This government has suspended more than 1000 university students during the past three years; university education has been destroyed. This attack on education has been a concern not only in our country but internationally as well. We experienced one of the most intense moments of this sinister move at Sabaragamuwa yesterday.  There are many issues regarding the administrative and welfare sectors of the university. The university has come to the low level being closed it down for rain as well as sun. The students of this university do their studies under very trying conditions.

There are five faculties in Sabaragamuwa University. About 500 students have been left out when admitting students for the year 2013. Admission fee has been raised by three fold. Students and the academic staff condemned and opposed this state. Rajapaksa regime, following its usual policy of using ‘spectacle projects’ for its political leverage, attempted to hold opening ceremonies at Sabaragamuwa University. Ministers tried to declare open buildings that had not been completed. Students launched peaceful protests for government’s attack on education and its ‘spectacle projects’. Students asked not cut down the number of admissions. Sri Lanka is one of the ten countries that have fewer admissions to universities. Also, it is a country that spends the minimum for education.

While the students were engaged in agitations Minister S.B. Dissanayake and university administration suspended five student leaders. The Students’ Council was banned. The administration closed down the university. At a discussion the administration had with students they promised to take back the suspended students and students agreed to stop their agitation. However, the administration did not keep its promise. Instead, more disciplinary committees were appointed and more students wee suspended. As a result students commenced their agitations. What exists in Sabaragamuwa University is a government assisted arbitrary administration. The government attacked the students deploying its political police and gangs brought in by Air Force vehicles. Nine students were arrested. Five of them were students who had been hospitalized due to injuries received in the police attack. The hunting down of student is not over yet.

This suppression is taking place while education is being privatized, when courses are being sold and allocations for education are being slashed. Rajapaksa regime has handed over the higher education to a heinous minister. He looks at students like a jailor looking at prisoners. He has privatization in his head. They have made Sabaragamuwa University a torture chamber; a politically oppressive administration has been established here. The political police had been deployed to assist them. The police personnel assaulted students with wooden bars that are used to put across beds. The students were assaulted for requesting the right for their student leaders to sit for the examination. What is hilarious is the Chairman of Embilipitiya Pradeshiya Sabha in Ratnapura District, where the University is, assaulted two police officers. This incident occurred five days ago. However, the assaulter has not been arrested. The Chairman gives voice cuts to the media. The special police team appointed is unable to arrest him. Rajapaksa police will never arrest him. The police that has been weakened and made impotent by Rajapasa regime to wash its pots and pans would never arrest perpetrators who assaulted its own officers. Senior police officers assaulting university students instead of arresting suspects who assaulted their officers is a very dangerous trend. The police officer who was assaulted has been found fault with for making a statement to the media regarding the incident. However, the assaulter is under government’s protection.

Rajapaksa regime doesn’t maintain a lawful administration. It is a political band of hoodlums. Recently, the students’ collective of Sabaragamuwa University forwarded a letter to the IGP. In this letter it is stated that illegal gangs and groups come to the university at dawn in vehicles without number plates and carry out shootings. However, there hasn’t been any investigation regarding this.  According to police there had been only lighting of crackers. The government maintains such gangs of hoodlums. They set fire to newspaper offices, excavate for treasure at Vilachchiya and break into the museum. However, no suspects are arrested. It is very clear that suspects cannot be arrested as they are gangs of thugs maintained by the government.

There is a special fact that should be revealed regarding this incident. It is Keerthy Mahawallage who announced the banning of Students Council of Sabaragamuwa University.  He is a former SLFP Parliamentarian from Galle District. He has been given a post of ‘Director if Students’ Affairs’, a post that does not exist in the administration of the Ministry of Higher Education. The government has carried out the programme of banning students’ councils through this individual. The government, while reducing the intake of students to universities, is planting its henchmen in universities and fills university security services with its stooges to attack students.

As the JVP we condemn this incident. We emphasize that the government should immediately stop repression of students at Sabaragamuwa University and restore the right of student leaders to sit for examinations.

The suspension of students should be immediately withdrawn. The students should be freed from court cases they have been dragged into. This government protects rogues, murderers, plunderers, those who torch warehouses and ethanol racketeers. This regime is an illegal administration that destroys independence of the judiciary and set fire to newspaper offices; a government that violates the Constitution and attempts to destroy education. It is moving towards a dictatorship.  Hence, we ask masses to understand the nature of this government from these incidents. We also ask the masses to support the just struggle of students of Sabaragamuwa University and to come forward on behalf of just struggles.

The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP and the National Organizer of Socialist Students' Union Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa too was present.

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