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FUTA urges govt to stop 'suppression of students'

2013 Jul 13

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) yesterday urged the government to stop suppressing undergraduates forthwith.

FUTA President Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri told that the police had arrested the conveners of the Inter University Students’ Federation Sanjeewa Bandara and Inter University Bhikkhu Federation Ven. Kimbullewe Chandananda Thera for violating bail conditions and not appearing in Court respectively.

Addressing the media near the Colombo University’s Stanley Wijesundera entrance as the FUTAˆhad been denied permission to meet the press inside the campus, Dr. Dewasiri said that during the last few weeks an unprecedented number of student activists had been suspended by state universities.

In almost all universities, student union activities were being suppressed and all legitimate channels for students to express their grievances blocked, he said.

The senior academic said that the FUTA condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the manner in which the authorities were dealing with student issues. "It is clear that the authorities, especially the Minister of Higher Education and other officials at the Ministry, see students as a threat to their agenda and are seeking to suppress any hint of opposition from university students," Dr. Dewasiri said.

A student had fallen to her death from a building at the Colombo University and a Head of the Legal Studies Department of the Open University was brutally stabbed by a student recently, the FUTAˆchief said.

Dr. Dewasiri said that those incidents were an outcome of the difficulties faced by students and staff alike in the state university system.

However, unfortunately, the subject minister’s focus was on establishing and promoting private universities in the country, he said.

Dr. Dewasiri said that the university teachers urged the government to stop those moves and to protect the free education system.

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