Govt’s days are numbered – FUTA

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Aug 16 2021

The Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) has warned the Government that instead of attempting to resolve the crisis created by the proposed Kotelawala National Defence University (KNDU) Bill, if it continues to stifle the people’s constitutionally protected right to dissent, its days are numbered and its political future is jeopardised. 

They said in the face of this repression, they are appealing to the legal community, civil society networks, activist organisations, and those committed to the protection of human rights to stand up and demand that the Police Force, which is acting like a private mercenary force of the Government, be immediately reformed to carry out its constitutionally mandated duty of safeguarding the right to life, liberty, and property. FUTA has been instructed to focus on the fact that the Police are currently conducting a witch-hunt against Dr. Mahim Mendis and 15 other activists who took part in the peaceful protest walk and demonstration, which concluded in the symbolic burning of a coffin and the lowering of a few barricades. 

“The protest walk and rally organised on 3 August with the participation of academics representing FUTA is the finest example of the Government's authoritarian approach. A wide number of civil society organisations and trade unions were involved in organising this protest walk and rally. 

The Police are attempting to characterise this democratic protest as a highly dangerous terrorist-like activity, and the Police Force, which is currently behaving like a governmenthired mercenary paramilitary force, is mocking law enforcement by invoking quarantine regulations and laws pertaining to public property damage against these activists,” they said.

 While criticising the Police for turning a blind eye to political activities where hundreds of people are crammed into a small space, FUTA pointed out that the Police are always present with a yardstick to measure social distancing at public protests about pressing societal issues. They also scoffed at attempts to characterise the lowering of a few mobile barriers and the slight melting of the tarmac as a major vandalism of public property when the people responsible for the Bond Scam and numerous other instances of misappropriating public funds have got away with it for years. (TR)

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Aug 16 2021

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