May 18, Colombo: The National Freedom Front (NFF), a coalition partner of the Sri Lankan government today condemned the arrest of university students, who were engaged in a peaceful protest Friday, and the alleged attacks on the students and their parents by the police.
In a statement issued today, the leader of NFF, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said his party strongly believes that the police should not take away the right of the students to peacefully protest.
The police arrested 18 students of the Allied Health Science Degree programme, who staged a protest in front of the University Grant Commission on Friday (May 16) disregarding police and court orders to demand the government not to cut short their four-year degree program to three years.
Four of the arrested students have been allegedly assaulted by the police and needed to be hospitalized.
Minister Weerawansa in his statement noted that the students' issue has been complicated by the intervention of the health sector trade unions and pointed out that such intervention has prolonged the crisis without a resolution.
The Minister requested the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene and provide a solution immediately and also to conduct an investigation on the alleged police attacks on the students.
There should not be any obstacle for the students receiving higher education to enjoy their rights and it is the whole nation's responsibility to protect students'' rights, the Minister stressed.