The incumbent government is moving in the same direction as Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and employing the very same oppressive methods to silence the voice of the people, the Inter University Students’ Federation says.
In a statement signed by its Convener Lahiru Weeraskera, the IUSF says that visuals of Rathupaswala people being mercilessly attacked and shot when they took to the streets demanding drinking water were used by Maithripala Sirisena at the last presidential polls and by the UNP at the general elections to gain political mileage. “They promised people that there would be no repetitions of such suppressive measures. However, after coming to power the government has resorted to very same methods. What happened at Bandagiriya in Hambantota last week was a case in point.”
Condemning the police attack on people at Bandagiriya, who were demanding drinking water, the IUSF says: “Their was a just demand. But, the government reaction was shocking. It unleashed police on people, who were beaten mercilessly and taken into custody thereafter. We condemn this kind of cruelty.
“It was the so-called yahapalana government that threw the farmers of Pelwehera in Dembulla behind bars for protesting against companies grabbing their land. The very same regime used water cannon and tear gas on people of Meethotamulla to quell an agitation against a garbage mountain. Their protest was against government’s failure to find a solution for the garbage problem which caused serious hazards. Jaffna people hurled stones at police and court building during a protest of the rape and murder of school student, Vidya Sivaloganathan. People were agitating against not receiving justice and officials conniving with the culprits. The yahapalana regime jailed the protesters. It is the same regime that banned a protest by the people of Chunnakkam in Jaffna demanding clean drinking water. Whenever university students stage a protest, the yahapalana regime sets police on them and have them beaten and arrested.
“We hope the people will see that there is no difference between the current regime and its predecessor where the violent suppression of people’s rights is concerned. We pledge our support to people agitating for their rights and call upon them to join us to safeguard their right to oppose an oppressive regime.”