Parents to report govt. to UNHRC

Attack on medical undergrads

STF attacking protesting students at the Health Ministry (File photo)

By Ajith Alahakoon

Parents of undergraduates in remand custody over alleged forcible entry into the Health Ministry during a recent protest against South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine threaten to go before Geneva Human Rights Commission if the government fails to have them released.

Addressing a press conference held in Colombo yesterday the parents said that they had evidence to prove that their children were being held on false charges.

The press conference jointly organized by the Government Medical Officers’ Association, Medical Faculty Teachers Federation, Organisation of Parents of Medical Faculty Students and Medical Faculty Students Action Committee.

The university students were staging a protest march and they proceeded to the Health Ministry seeking a meeting with the minister of health but the government had unleashed the STF on them, said Secretary of the Organisation of Parents of Medical Faculty Students, Senior lawyer Gamini Ekanayake.

"There are no records of students damaging public property but we have ample footage of STF men and security forces attacking them mercilessly. We call upon the Health Ministry to release the CCTV footage in its possession if they could prove that the undergraduates damaged anything," he said.

Ekanayake said that medical faculty students and other undergraduates numbering around 7,000 were struggling for the abolition or government taking over of the SAITM.

"We ask the government to release the students in custody. Otherwise, we would go before Geneva Human Rights Commission against unlawful arrest, holding students on false charges, brutal assault by security forces on students and suppression of student movements. We have enough evidence against the STF and other police personnel who assaulted unarmed students. We would produce that evidence too in Geneva if the government does not meet out demand," Vice President of the Organisation of Parents of Medical Faculty Students Dr Sunimal Jayakody said.

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