Sri Lanka: attempted abduction of a student leader
July 24, 2017, 4:48 am

As we are all aware, there is a prolonged campaign against the government’s attempt to legalize South Asian Institute for Technology and Management (SAITM) as a Private Medical College without proper accreditation by Sri Lanka Medical Council. University Students of Medical and all other Faculties are at the forefront of a battle against SAITM and have demanded its nationalization. As the campaign against SAITM has grown to be a national movement, the government has turned undemocratic to suppress it by using covert and overt violent means. As a result of the government’s brutal suppression of several protests many student protesters were injured, and several leading student activists are being held in custody indefinitely. The government seems to be determined to suppress the anti-SAITM student movement by arresting its entire leadership.

The government is targeting student leaders by unleashing violence and using intelligence services and civil clad military personnel to arrest them. The most recent example occurred on 20th July 2017 when there was an attempt to abduct a leading student activist, Ryan Jayalath, by some men without uniforms who were supported by the Police. Fortunately, Ryan could not be abducted due to the intervention of some activists who were around him. He was being clearly targeted for his activism. The government in arresting student leaders and suppressing their campaign undemocratically, is acting against the very principle of good governance.

We as concerned academics belonging to several Universities and several other organizations working for the right of free education and social justice have resolved to condemn the government’s attempt to suppress students and make a mockery of the rule of the law in this country.
With this objective we will hold a Press Conference on 23rd July at 2.00 .p.m. at the Center for Society and Religion (CSR), Maradana. We kindly invite your media organization to attend this press briefing and provide wide publicity for the stance we are taking in order to safeguard the rights of student activists in particular and condemn the government’s undemocratic and brutal approach in general.