My life in danger – FUTA ChiefJuly 4, 2012, 12:00 pm
by Dasun Edirisinghe
President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri yesterday said that his life was in danger as the threats against him were continuing.
Commenting on university teachers’ strike which commenced yesterday, Dr. Devasiri told The Island that it had been launched as the government had failed to solve teachers’ problems.
He said that he had received a second telephone call on Tuesday threatening him to stop the strike.
"Lives of wife and daughter are also in danger," Dr. Devasiri said.
He said that he had received threatening calls on June 22 and July 03 and the unidentified callers had threatened to harm not only him but also his wife and daughter.
Some suspicious looking persons had questioned the neighbours on his daughter’s daily routine on June 19, the FUTAchief said.
Dr. Devasiri said that he had complained to the Maharagama and Cinnamon Gardens police on each occasion. "We will launch a signature campaign against the government’s delay in granting our demands."
The main FUTA demands are allocation of 6 per cent of GDP for the education sector, engagement of university teachers in the process of making decisions involving the higher education sector and a pay hike.
He said that teachers from all universities except Kelaniya, Uva Wellassa and the Medical Faculties, had joined the strike.
However, the Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Association of the Colombo University (FMTA) said it fully endorsed the FUTA demands, which it said should be met by the government.
FMTA President Dr. N. D. N. A. Mendis said that as the students had already been affected by recent trade union action launched by the non-academic staff, the FMTA was at present not planning to join the FUTA strike.
"But, we will join the strike if the authorities do not take steps to redress the legitimate grievances of the FUTA immediately," Dr. Mendis said.
Meanwhile, the Inter University Students’ Federation condemned the threats made to FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri.
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