Police used tear gas and water canons to disperse members of the Student Collective of the Higher National Diploma for Accountancy (HNDA), who were protesting opposite the University Grants Commission (UGC) yesterday. This led to the hospitalization of 28 students.
The students were protesting the cancellation of the degree status for their programme.
The students walked in procession from the Pettah. The HNDA Student Collective also conducted a demonstration on 5 December, where a solution to the problem was promised by the UGC.Speaking to Ceylon Today, Sarath de Silva of the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) stated that the solution was to be issued on 19 December but they did not get any response from the UGC upto now.
“We conducted this demonstration in order to gain access into the UGC to speak with the authorities. All of these students have enough qualifications to gain University entrance but they have been barred that opportunity after the cancellation of the degree. When we conducted our demonstration peacefully, they responded by firing tear gas at us. The students, both male and female, were abused by the police,” he said.
Convener of the IUSF Najith Indika stated that four students were arrested during the demonstration and were later released after the students agreed to disperse from the area. “Two of the arrested were injured during the protest when the police used brute force to disband the protesters. Another 28 students were hospitalized and six of them had baton injuries and injuries caused by rubber bullets”
However, the UGC representatives who were sent to negotiate with the student protesters, were unable to provide a proper response that agreed with the student demands and according to the IUSF, the UGC has not issued any kind of feedback on the matter as yet.