Over 500 teachers surround Mawanella Police
By Buddhika Samaraweera
More than 500 teachers and principals surrounded the Mawanella Police Station yesterday (7) in protest of the non-arrest of the Mawanella Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) Deputy Chairman, who had allegedly forcibly entered a school in the Mawanella area on 3 November and disrupted its principal and teachers.
The Mawanella PS Deputy Chairman, along with two other individuals, had allegedly entered the Mederigama Maha Vidyalaya in Mawanella on 3 November and scolded the parents and teachers who were staging a protest demanding the Government to resolve the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue.
Accordingly, more than 500 teachers and principals surrounded the Mawanella Police Station yesterday and protested. Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) General Secretary Joseph Stalin and Ceylon Teachers’ Services Union (CTSU) General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe were also present.
Speaking to the media during the protest, Stalin warned that if the Police do not arrest the said PS Deputy Chairman today (8), a decision would have to be taken regarding the re-closure of schools that have been reopened islandwide.
“The Police now say they are working to arrest him, but the incident took place on 3 November. The Police have not yet taken action to arrest him. Why can’t the Police arrest a person who forcibly entered a school and scolded teachers and principals and obstructed their duties?” he queried.
Meanwhile, speaking to the media during the protest, CTSU General Secretary Jayasinghe stated that the Teachers’ and Principals’ Trade Union Alliance (TPTUA) even has the ability to close all schools in the country again if the person concerned is not arrested by the Police.
“Teachers and principals in this country are no longer acting as the Government or the Education Ministry say; they are acting on decisions made by the trade unions. Therefore, we can even close all schools against the Police’s failure to arrest this person. However, we do not consider such a move at first, since we think of the education of millions of students,” he said.
Nearly 5,000 protests organised by parents of schoolchildren were held in front of schools across the country on 3 November in support of the trade union actions initiated by the TPTUA, demanding the Government to resolve the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue.
In the morning of 3 November, the PS Deputy Chairman and two other persons in question had entered the said school and asked the parents who were engaged in the protest to leave the school premises. They had then obstructed the principal and teachers of the said school. Following the incident, the TPTUA had written to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne to initiate legal action against the PS Deputy Chairman and the other two persons.