“The headless government doesn’t like students with heads. That’s why they get students’ heads bashed. The Ministers of Health and Education who have heads without brains attack students who have to take over the future of the country. The students’ movement has been struggling for several years demanding the government to abolish SAITM institute that has no standard and is harmful to free education in the country. Despite parents, trade unions, doctors, intellectuals, political parties including the JVP and several ministers demanding the close down of SAITM, the government arbitrarily has allowed it to continue. This is why students have to carry out struggles within the democratic framework to pressurize the government. This is why they go on a protest march on the 21st. It was a peaceful march. The government got the peaceful march to be brutally attacked. Students’ heads were bashed with poles.
Criminals did not take part in this protest march. Even female students and Bhikkhus who participated in the protest march were savagely attacked. An agitation held in Galle protesting against the attack on university students on the 21st was also attacked by deploying thugs. The skull of a student was seriously damaged due to this inhuman attack. The JVP vehemently condemns these attacks. We also demand the government to stop attacks carried out on students and abolish SAITM illegal institute immediately,” said the General Secretary of the JVP Comrade Tilvin Silva. He said this at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP today (23rd). The Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP Comrade Sunil Handunneththi MP and the National Organizer of Socialist Students Union Comrade Rangana Devapriya also participated.
Comrade Tilvin Silva speaking further said, “The SAITM crisis is getting worse. If it continues it would mark the end of this government. Hence, we tell the government not to make it their swan song. For, what students ask is not something the government cannot give.
We, of the JVP, are against SAITM. It is a deadly obstacle for free education. The policy of this government is to withdraw from contributing to education. This is why the government is attempting to pave the way for private education. Also, it attempts to get investments of foreign educational institutes to the country as a solution for the economic crisis the government is confronted with. The government tries to hand over the burden of education to a private institute. This would deny education to children of the poor. Another reason for our opposition to SAITM is that it would bring down the standard of education. There are serious issues regarding the standard of this institute. This is said not only by those oppose SAITM but also by the parents of students who study at SAITM. The parents had written to SAITM asking not to hold examinations as students hadn’t completed their training. It is a thieves’ den. Even the students are deceived.
Another reason for our opposition is the effect it would have on the free health service. Doctors who have studied spending Rs. 10 to Rs.12.5 million would never come for free health services. It would destroy free health service. Creating doctors with low standard would be a menace. For, the mistakes they make cannot be corrected. This is why we say SAITM should be abolished.
What the government should do is to broaden the opportunities for students. The government has enough money for their wasteful spending. A decision had been taken to build a faculty of Medicine for Sabaragamuwa University. But this was not done.
We warn the government that all forces would rally against the government if SAITM issue is not solved soon. Struggles cannot be weakened by carrying out attacks against them. They will have to decide whether the government is sacrificed for SAITM and allow SAITM issue to mark its end.
There was a French emperor called Napoleon. He invaded all countries in Europe. He dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade. However, his end began with the battle at Waterloo. SAITM could be this government’s ‘Waterloo’. We ask the government not to consider this as a students’ struggle or a doctors’ struggle. This is a struggle of the majority of the people in the country. It looks like the government is considering that it could be solved by suppression. If the government tries to suppress the students’ movement more and more forces would join the struggle against SAITM. Deploying Army and police would not solve the issue. There is still time to solve it by discussion. However, government attempts to solve it by deploying armed forces and thugs.
The government, instead of representing the majority of the people in the country, is risking its future by representing SAITM. If the government doesn’t solve the issue we will have to develop the struggle to send the government home. We would warn the government that such a struggle would not be stopped by suppression.”