Students see sinister plan
By Rathindra Kuruwita
The attacks on Kelaniya University students is the latest
attempt by the Government to silence the voice of dissent,
claimed Convener, Inter University Students Federation, Udul
Premaratne charged that the Police not only allowed armed
assailants to attack students but also did not provide adequate
security to the convoys which carried mostly female students to
“Police claim that they evacuated the students
“safely.” If they evacuated the students safely how were the
buses attacked at Fort, Armour Street, Kiribathgida and
Peliyagoda. 90% of the passengers were female; they were abused
verbally and physically. At Armour Street these assailants
chased away the two policemen in the bus. This proves two
things, one is that there was no proper security arrangement and
the other is that these were not “villagers,” he said.
Premaratne added that there is no reason for the villagers to
attack undergraduates as there is a close interdependent
relationship. Many students who come from outstation areas are
boarded in houses nearby and are a considerable source of income
to the villagers.
“Apart from the boarding houses, there are
dozens of other enterprises, from restaurants to internet cafes,
which are dependant on students. For five decades there have
been no clashes with villagers. That is why we claim that these
attacks are the work of Minister Silva,” he alleged. Colombo
National Hospital claimed that three students who were assaulted
in buses were admitted to the hospital but students claim that
there were many others who sustained cuts and bruises.
bus I was travelling in was attacked and when we made it to
Peliyagoda Police station the Police Officers abused us verbally
and did not do anything to help those who were injured,” claimed
Udul Premaratne claimed that the Minister’s henchmen have
been trying to provoke the students in the past few days.
“In the last few days we received reports of various minor
attacks on students and some individuals have been trying to
provoke students during the ‘Bihidora Abiyasa’ exhibition. About
three days ago, a student was hit by a black colour Prado
vehicle which tried to flee the scene without helping the
injured student and when others intervened there was a minor
incident. Mervyn Silva is directly behind this and other
incidents,” he claimed. “On Thursday night various gangs have
come to many boarding places looking for university students and
unless the Government takes serious steps to assure the security
of the students I don’t think the academic activities can
commence,” he said.
Meanwhile Minister Mervyn Silva and Police
Spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara denied claims of inciting
violence against the students of the University of Kelaniya and
not providing enough security to the students who were leaving
the University in a special convoy of buses.
“I did not incite
violence against the students. I heard that there is a clash
between students and residents of the area and I rushed into
settle the dispute,” Minister Silva said.
SSP Gunasekara claimed that police took immediate action to stop
the violence between the two sides. “We sent Police squads to
the University premises and dispersed the crowds using tear gas.
We did all we can,” he said.