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FUTA Statement on the events on 9th May 2022

We, the Federation of University Teachers’ Association of Sri Lanka, unequivocally condemn the attack on peaceful protestors at the Galle Face Green and near the Temple Trees on the 9th of May 2022. We are of the view that the now resigned Prime Minister Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his office was complicit in this violence. The individuals and groups who attacked the peaceful protestors were hosted at the Temple Trees, official residence of the Prime Minister, just before they proceeded towards Galle Face, with the intention to confront those at Galle Face Green.

Although he has now rendered his resignation, we demand that Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa should explain to the People, whom he was duty bound to serve and protect, why this group of people were invited and hosted by him today at Temple Trees. This reception stands in stark contrast to the outright hostility shown towards peaceful protestors outside Temple Trees who have been demanding his resignation. You owe it to the People to name the individuals who organized the meeting at Temple Trees, who approved the use of the hall for this purpose and facilitated the meeting. Social and mass media reports identify some cabinet ministers, parliamentarians and members of the local government institutions being present at this meeting and in the mob that later attacked the protestors.

The FUTA call upon the President and the Inspector General of Police also to resign immediately in recognition of their failure to prevent this violence.

The FUTA demands that immediate legal action must be taken against those who have instigated violence, irrespective of their social or political status. We also call upon the authorities to conduct an impartial investigation to look into the behaviour of the Police and the armed forces during the incident.

We thank the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Bar Association for acting independently and fulfilling its mandate by condemning the actions of our public officials. We call upon the Police, the Armed Forces, the Judiciary and all other public servants to fulfill their duty and act impartially and resist any force that may be placed on any of them to give into undue political pressure.

Sri Lanka is once again at a breaking point. We, Sri Lankans, are once again suffering material and emotional hardship due to the deliberate acts of mal-governance of our elected representatives. We note that this is a catastrophic event in a long series of events that we have experienced in this island nation. Over the last several weeks, people from all walks of life have come together to ask for accountability, for constitutional government and for a system change. In response, this Government has declared a state of emergency, made a mockery of parliamentary process and has sought to, for all intents and purposes, continue with their business as usual. Today, public institutions and their processes are being held hostage to the will of a few in Government.

We condemn this state capture and demand that the President heed the call of the people, desist from further destroying the democratic fabric of Sri Lanka. We condemn all and any attempt by the Government to absolve itself from responsibility in this regard.

Furthermore, the FUTA urges the general public to act responsibly and sensibly, refraining from all sorts of violence that could destroy lives, public and private properties etc. as such acts of violence could undermine the peoples’ struggle. 

Rohan Laksiri
General Secretary
Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA). 

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