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Today (20th June) is the National
Student Heroes Day’ that commemorates student comrades who sacrificed their lives
on behalf of the Motherland and free education. Shooting dead comrade
Weerasuriya on 12th November, 1976 at Peradeniya University was the first
student life taken by capitalist governments in Sri Lanka. Since then this
repression has been continuing and the latest is the brutal killing by the
police of Comrade Susanthe Bandara at Ruhuna University in July, 2010.
The history of the student movement in Sri Lanka is the history of the
struggle for the independence of the Motherland and for free education. In this
struggle 20th June is a very special day. For the first time in the world a
police station was established in a university and in the struggle against the
UNP repression Comrade Padmasiri Abeysekera was murdered on 19th June, 1984. In
a police shooting at a student agitation held in Colombo University protesting
against this murder Comrade Rohana Ratnayake was killed on 21st June1984. Also,
Comrade Nishanthe Jayawardene of Vijithe MMV, Dickwella was shot dead within
the school premises on 20th June, 1988. June 20th is declared the ‘National
Student Heroes Day’ basing on these incidents.
Most of student murders in Sri Lanka took place during the latter years
of the 80s. This was when student movement in Sri Lanka was fighting against
privatization of education, Indian expansionism as well as dictatorship and
undemocratic nature of J.R. Jayawardene. Even today the same process of
undemocratic moves, attempt to privatize education and cowing down to
imperialism and regional hegemony is taking place under different
administrations and persons. The symbol of destruction of free education then
was the Colombo North medical school that was launched with the courtesy of the
UNP government. Today Malabe medical school is being implemented with the full
support of the Alliance government. Then our Motherland was swallowed up by
Indian expansionism through Indo-Lanka pact and IPKF. Today our country is
being gobbled by the US imperialism through ACSA agreement, the IMF and World
Bank and Indian expansionism through, with or without, SAFTA and SARTIS
agreements. Then J.R. Jayawardene’s constitutional dictatorship destroyed
democracy in the country deploying official and unofficial armed gangs. Today
democracy is being destroyed adding family dictatorship to the constitutional
dictatorship of JR and also with official and unofficial armed gangs.
The challenge before the student movement today is not a trivial affair.
What has emerged is not an opportunity to waste the strength and energy of the
student movement on a few traditional isolated struggles. It is a moment to
gather all forces to deal a vital blow on the undemocratic, despotic and
repressive government. For this Socialist Students Union emphasizes that more
and more students should rally around a reliable, correct and courageous
leadership. We could perpetually honour our fallen comrades only if we bring
victory to the social and political vision they showed us and for which they
made the supreme sacrifice.”
Source – IUSF Web and LankaTruth
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