Barrage of protests vs KNDU from tomorrow
2 years ago
FUTA threatens daily demonstrations till scheduled vote on Bill Academic dons seek meeting with Education Ministry BY Pamodi Waravita The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) said yesterday (28) that it will be holding protests almost daily from tomorrow (30) onwards over the course of the next seven days, against the controversial General Sir John Kotelawala National Defence University (KNDU) Bill. The Bill is reportedly due to be taken up for vote in Parliament on 6 August. Speaking to The Morning yesterday, FUTA Secretary Rohan Laksiri said that protests will be held within the next few days in Kurunegala, Kandy, Matara, and Jaffna, while a larger protest is planned for 5 August, in front of the Parliament Roundabout. “We have also sought a discussion with the Education Ministry regarding this Bill. If it is presented to the Parliament on 6 August, we will take harsher trade union action,” warned Laksiri. Attempts to contact Education Ministry Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera regarding the matter proved futile. All university academic staff participated in collective strike action yesterday by refraining from engaging in online teaching activities, so as to demand that the Government withdraw the KNDU Bill immediately. Meanwhile, Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday that the SJB will take the lead in defeating the controversial Bill, claiming it constitutes a serious attack on free education. National People’s Power (NPP) MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya also told The Morning yesterday that the NPP demands the complete withdrawal of the Bill, as they will not be accepting any amendments to it. The KNDU Bill has come under widespread criticism from various quarters for the alleged threat it poses to free education, and owing to the militarisation of education that will take place if it goes through in its present form. A range of demonstrations have taken place throughout Colombo over the last two weeks in protest of the Bill, which was tabled in Parliament on 7 July, where over 31 arrests were made. The Morning reported on 21 July that a workshop on the controversial KNDU Bill is to be held for all governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MPs on 2 August, and that it will be taken up for vote in Parliament during the first week of August.