June 19, Colombo: Sri Lanka Police today fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse university students protesting against the SAITM near the Parliament Roundabout in Battaramulla.
The protest march, organized by the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF), the Inter University Bhikku Federation and the Federation of Medical Students, commenced from near the University of the Visual & Performing Arts in Colombo this morning.
The protesters marched towards the Parliament via Borella blocking the road and causing severe traffic congestion. As a result the morning commuters and the ordinary people faced immense difficulties.
When the protesters behaved disruptively in front of the parliamentary roundabout attempting to breach police barricades and moved towards Parliament the police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the unruly students.
The students later dispersed after protesting for nearly four hours.
The university students are protesting against the General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University (Special Provisions) Bill, which seeks to lay down the national policy relating to the absorption of students registered with the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) to the General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University (KDU).
The General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University (Special Provisions) Bill was tabled in Parliament on June 8 by Higher Education Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe following the granting of Cabinet approval to absorb 980 students of the SAITM to the KDU after evaluating their qualifications.