The Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) staged a protest last night outside the Fort Railway Station to show their displeasure over the alleged double standards of the authorities on the controversial SAITM issue.
During the protest they later set fire to two effigies of the President Maithripala Sirisena and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Hundreds of students representing State Universities and several student unions, carrying torches, joined the protest in which they claimed Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne and the Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella had pushed State Education towards destruction.
Speaking to the massive crowd that had gathered at the location, IUSF Convener Lahiru Weerasekara recalled that both ministers along with University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Professor Mohan De Silva had taken part in a TV programme on Tuesday night and made a shameful attempt to justify private education institutions including South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM).
Furthermore, he said the unity government has failed to agree on a solution to the SAITM issue with President Sirisena and the Cabinet of Ministers making different pronouncements on the matter.
Speaking to Daily Mirror Inter University Bhikkhu Federation (IUBF) Acting Convener Rathkarawwe Jinarathana Thera said just because the government changes the nature of the business of the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital it does not help to solve the matter.
During the protest a tense situation occurred as three persons who carried camera equipment and seemed to be media personnel were identified as CID officers by the IUSF members. However, they escaped unhurt as IUSF Convener Weerasekara stepped in to calm the crowd and prevent a violent altercation from taking place. (Thilanka Kanakarathna)