You Can’t solve student problems by attacking them with clubs and bathing them with tear gas
Posted on October 31st, 2015

Dr Sudath Gunasekara, First Secretary to the Ministry of Technical Education 1994

I myself saw this savage attack by police on University students on the TV. In fact it was a shame to have treated these boys and girls who had come to meet the authorities to seek redress to their burning problems in that manner. Instead of beating them like animals the authorities should have first listen to their grievances and tried to sort them out.  That is why people of this country have elected their politicians and got these officials placed in those positions at high cost. After all they are children of the people who pay the taxes to maintain all these irresponsible bunch of idiots. I was wondering whether these police officers who attacked these boys and girls in that brutal manner have children of their own at their homes. I don’t think they do. I also don’t think there is any difference between these students and your own children. This is the age of recent and adolescence of these children, which all of us, including those who attacked and ordered them to do so, have passed not long ago.

However much one tries to justify the attack, I don’t think any sensible man or woman will ever agree with such foolish treatment on students in that age group. For me it was nothing short of a battle field, an advancing killer army chasing after the enemy after their blood. Only thing missing here was shooting, beheading and killing, although it was very close to that when you watch. The way police officers madly charging and hammering the defenseless, the way helpless unarmed students running, falling,  bleeding  and were getting trampled on the highway (which also now belong to the M/Higher education under the present government) is real drama on the highway. No one could see it as an innocent attempt by a trained and disciplined set of police officers to disperse a boisterous set of students who had gathered there to ask for a glass of water to quench their immediate juvenile thirst.

I am sure these students have not come to declare war against anybody there. Nor were they at war with anyone. According to papers they have come to seek redress for few of their problems like recognition for HNDE, Enhancement of Mahapola payments, Issue of Private Universities and Student victimization. So why were they hammered like this and under whose orders the police carried out that ugly and merciless beating. As for me as a father, one time teacher cum Principal of a school and a Secretary of an Education Ministry and above all as a human being with common sense I cannot approve this kind of behavior either by police, officials or politicians at all.

As I was watching this rather uncivilized attack, my mind went back to 1994 when I had to face a similar situation as the newly appointed Secretary to the Ministry. That day also there was a similar demonstration outside the gates of the M/of education. We never summoned the police and asked them to disperse them as enemies. We though it is our bounded duty to listen to  them and to settle their grievances. A delegation of 5 0r 6 were invited in for a discussion. Mr M.D.D.Pieris who was the Secretary to the M/Higher Education was in the chair. Other participants were Prof Luxman Jayatilaka (Chairmen Education Commission and former VC Peradeniya), Acting Director Institute of HNDE Moratuwa and Principal Maradana Tech College. After initial talks with the Chairman the President of the Students body said that they have had127 similar meetings with officials and met the Minister 27 times previously with no results in spite of the promises made. Then he said they are walking out as they don’t see any difference between that meeting and the previous ones.

The same day at 2.30 PM I met those boys and girls at Moratuwa in the company of Luxman and was able to sort out the 3 year old dispute in about 20 minutes. The students return to their classes from next day and I was told there was no problems at Moratuwa thereafter for  about 3 years though I left the ministry to take up my new position as the Secretary to Mrs Bandaranaike’s Ministry few days thereafter.

I do not propose to go in to details as to how I resolved that here. If you are interested to know the magic formula I adopted (it it was no magic at all, but simple common sense only), I invite you to read Pages 156-162 of my book Deyata Ahimivana Ran Akara (A Godage Publication 2013) to find out as to how I sorted out that long standing problem within such a short time to everybody’s satisfaction. I have given a full description of the event from A-Z within those few pages for the benefit of posterity.

See how easily these problems could be resolved if you apply common sense. Of course one must address these problems with an open mind. Ministers and officials must realize that they are there to solve people’s problems. The irony is these problems are not created by the students. If you carefully look at them, finally you will find that all these problems have been created by none other than the politicians and the officials who now get the police to baton charge the innocent students. If these Governments continue to adopt this policy all our men will end up in Korea as labourers and women in the Middle East as domestic labour and  Sri Lanka will end up as the country in the Indian Ocean that supplies the cheapest human labour before long. I don’t think we need to have a Central Government with 225 Ministers,  an Executive President and a Prime Minister, nine Provincial Councils with 9 Governors, 9 Cheap Ministers, 45 Ministers and nearly 900 provincial Councilors’ and a gigantic public service with1 public Official to every 16 people in this country at such enormous cost and inconvenience to the general public.

In a civilized democratic society this incident alone is enough for the Minister and those who are vested with the responsibility of the subject of HNDA/E to resign immediately, of course if they have an iota of self respect and shame including who gave orders to baton charge the students that day. In my opinion the Minister should immediately tender his resignation taking full responsibility for this incident without trying to find any more lame excuses.

Finally it reminds me of a golden saying the Editor Island had penned few days back at this moment.

A monkey with a straight razor is less dangerous that a Politician”. Having watched this incident, I would add the word police Officer too to this adage.

9 Responses to “You Can’t solve student problems by attacking them with clubs and bathing them with tear gas”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    All this jumbo cabinet business is shoved down Sri Lanka’s throat by vipers Indians and the west to
    please tn and tamil diaspora. After traitor thambi mudiyanselage alugosu jr signed pact 1987 with the indian vipers
    Sri Lanka was doomed. We have had to dance these vipers tunes then on. Small country with so many mps, deputy mps, etc. etc thanks to these vipers.

    When alugosu jr destroyed the country, any Sinhalese with an iota of patriotism would have dumped the catholic-run, Buddhist-killing, Buddhism destroying Unpatriotic party. No chance of that with so many ungrateful Sinhalese around. That’s why MR lost after so much he done for the country. But traitor Sinhalese dumped him straightaway. That’s how those lunatics are. They value pol pot ponil more than MR. Pol pot ponil and his party bring only misery, murder, corruption and destruction to the country, the Sinhalese and Buddhism. But they don’t give a toss about it. They fall for catholic-run tv and newspapers who spread lies and lies. Then these traitor Sinhalese idiots believe every word of it. You can how much destruction and misery they have caused in such a short time. Who cares? We support the catholic-run Unpatriotic party. It is so fashionable being supporters of them!

  2. Independent Says:

    Marapana and Kiriella should resign after the Brutal Attack on Female Students

    – Oct 31, 2015

    Marapana and Kiriella should resign after the Brutal Attack on Female Students

    The Brutal attack on the Higher National Diploma inAccountancy by the Yahaplana Government sent shock waves around the country and the international community.

    The immediate reaction was that there was no difference between MS and the MR government.

    The NFF MP Jayantha Samaraweera was quick to say that this government is trying to suppress the demands of the people with force. The problem with this government is that the wrong people who have no clue of a particular subject is given important positions.

    Lukshman Kiriella is the Minister of Higher Education and Highways. What is the connection between these two ministries? What does Kiriella know about higher education and furthermore he does not spent sufficient time on the more important issue, our future knowledge capital of our country.

    His solution seems to be to unleash the police to attack female students and hoping the problem will go away. Marapana and Kiriella must be not having Children of their own to order such a brutal attack on female students.

    Both have gone to decent schools in the city, won’t they taught the values that their schools so proudly protect? As UNP sources say Thilak Marapana has no moral right to be in Parliament, he deserted the UNP for years and even appeared for the notorious Nissanka Senadthipathy for a big fee, was put on the national list by the Prime Minister ignoring many others who stood by the party for years.

    On the other hand Minister Kiriella has no time for higher education, given that he is holding a portfolio that half of the cabinet wants to get hold of for obvious reasons.

    This attack is a shame on the Prime Minister and his wife, a university Professor who talks about women’s rights all over the place.

    Good for her to teach her husband and his colleagues how to treat women decently, before she preaches on the academic stage about women’s rights.

    The way this government is going it won’t be too long before people start saying there is no difference between the Rajapakse and the Sirisena Government.

    It is time for FUTA to get tough with the government and get them to address their issues without resorting to brutal force. If not they have only themselves to blame.

    If Sarath Amunugame’ was the Minister like before, nothing like this would have been tolerated. President Sirisena without being a hapless bystander should intervene.

    As MP Badula Gunawardana MP pointed out recently there is something radically wrong with this UNP government, that he cannot understand. They have simply got lost.

    Very Disappointing Sir.

    For Good Governance

  3. aravinda Says:

    Mr.Independent, your comments are misinformed. There is a great difference in governments of MR and MS/Ranil. MR was the man who saved Sri Lanka from Balkanization. He is one of the nine Sri Lankan leaders in 2560 year written history, starting from King Asela,( the brother of Devanampiya Tissa), to unite this country.

    Difference between MR and Ranil is vast. MR loved our nation, and always worked for betterment of our people. Ranil is a lazy, petty puppet who subverted the war effort few years ago, to please his Western masters.

    MS/Ranil need to please their Western master who put them in power. Western masters want to establish perpetual civil strife and disorder in Asia and Africa. MR is one of the few Asian/African leaders who put a stop to it. He is part of our nations history, part of our folklore and one day will be part of our Mythology.

    As for HNDA students, they shouldn’t be in streets rebelling against the state. They should be studying. HNDA is not a Degree, only a Diploma. Mahapola is not a right, but a privilege. Mahapola is free money. If if don’t like it, don’t take it. If you want more money, ask your Amma and Appachchi, not the tax payers!

    Every turn Police get blamed. What ever they do is seen as wrong. What right has these students have to disrupt public places and lives of other people. Police have to keep order. The pictures show Police been brutal. But if this happened in USA, and if the students were dark skinned as us, most of them would be dead by now.

    JVP is very active in this Hartal. JVP is now a part of UNP. Anura Kumara is taking all his orders from Ranil or his henchmen. JVP worked so hard to put Ranil in power. Why hell are they complaining now?

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    FULLY AGREE WIT YOU ARAVINDA.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Students must take their grievances to the Ministers & MPs. Signed Petitions are safer than taking to the streets and getting hammered by the Police.

    Aravinda has raised some good points.

    Looks like FREE Education may be less and less available in the future ?

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Aravinda,

    I’m disappointed by (part of) your comment.

    NOTHING justifies this POLICE DOG brutality. This is INHUMAN. NO human can justify police action in this case.

    The students are at fault too but this is not how police should behave. They acted with VENGENCE if you look at the vidoes and photos. Your example of African Americans, etc. getting beaten in USA is a wrong comparison. SLs belong to SL not to Africa or elsewhere. SLs cannot be beaten like animals in SL.

    Wrong doing policemen and POLITICIANS must be JAILED. This is a crime against humanity. We should write to UNHRC about POLICE TERROR in SL.

  7. nilwala Says:

    It was wrong for the instigators/leaders of the student demonstration to do so at a time like this. At the same time, the Police should have been instructed to only use Water Cannons if force was to be necessary.
    This looks to me like it was deliberately allowed to happen.
    Hopefully the powers that be have better sense the next time.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    I agree with Nilwala that the incident was likely deliberately allowed to happen. After all, RIOTS have been the plus for all the trouble makers for Lanka.

    Look at the pluses given to the Tamil community – Tamil language in place, no Caste lines on the birth certificates, FREE Education & Health Care, the Prevention of Social Disabiliites Act (1957) especially tailor made for the low caste/Dalit origin Tamils to enter class rooms, temples etc. SWRD probably was assassinated for giving the Tamil Language (Special Prov) Act 1958. The Tamil Language is the weapon used by Tamil leaders for Separatism.
    Tamils have all the rights the others in Lanka have, but in spite of it the Tamil leaders demand a Separate State.

    RIOTS are used to edge toward Separatism. The 1983 Riots were trumped up. About 300 plus Tamils died in these Riots. The Tamil Diaspora was formed after the 1983 Riots as these Riots enabled Tamils to go abroad as Refugees. The Tamil Diaspora is a main pro-LTTE body, and to date demand Eelam.

    Riots are the preferred way for all mischievous elements in Lanka. Riots are the bane of Lanka. Even in 1915, the false Riots caused by the Muslim protests over a Buddhism perahera, ended with serious repercussions with the entire Sinhala leadership being incarcerated by the British colonial masters. Even D.S. Senanayake was thrown in jail along with the rest of the Sinhala leaders. William Pedris (who was part of the British army) was falsely accused of leading some of the rioters and shot dead as the collaborator !

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    All protests which draws USELESS and violent reactions must stop ! These protests do not serve any purpose other than play into the hands of Separatists and other negative elements.

    At this point in time, if protests must be done, they must be done without public displays. Public displays of protest are always used by negative groups to cause violence and trouble for the whole of Lanka.

    At this point in time, Lanka is in a vulnerable spot. There are other ways to regiser protests without public displays leading to violence.

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