Dons who helped MR become President led FUTA protest – UNP

by Zacki Jabbar

University teachers who had publicly campaigned to elect Mahinda Rajapaksa President had been in the forefront of last week’s protest march from Galle to Colombo by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), the UNP said yesterday.

Gayantha Karunathillake MP, told a news conference in Colombo that the academic community, which once believed and campaigned for the ‘Mahinda Chintana’ had walked over a 100 km from Galle to Colombo, to protest against the indifferent and step motherly treatment meted out to a vital sector such as education.

The ‘Mahinda Chintana’ which pledged to make education one of its main priorities had obviously been eaten by the very "rats" that had helped draft it, he noted.

Karunathillake said that the education system from Grade one upwards was faced with some crisis or the other resulting in teachers and students being subjected to mental degradation.

The Ministers of Higher Education and Education, ably assisted by the state media, were insulting FUTA for its reasonable demand that six percent of the GDP be allocated for education, the MP said adding that it could easily be done, if waste and corruption in the State sector, from the top downwards, was weeded out.

President Rajapaksa had appointed people such as Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillaiyan, as Advisors who are unable to make a worthwhile contribution. The huge cost of maintaining his army of advisors had to ultimately be borne by the poor, Karunathillake, observed.

He said that the UPFA government having accused the SLMC of being a racist party during the recently concluded Eastern Provincial Council Election, had now teamed up with it to form the administration in the Council, without any respect for the people’s clear verdict rejecting the UPFA by 400,000 votes to 200,000.

The Rajapaksa regime was pandering to the wishes of the IMF and World Bank which it not so long ago berated. It would come as no surprise if the prices of electricity and gas are increased further, now that polls are over. This would be a huge blow to the poor masses, who only last week, were told to pay 20 percent more for water, the MP noted.

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