Court refuses to grant bail to 22 IUSF students arrested for protesting despite a court order

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The 22 university students including two monks arrested for protesting in front of the Ministry of Higher Education disregarding a court order banning the protest have been remanded further.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne ordered the students to be remanded until March 16 when they were produced before the court today.

The lawyers appearing for the students, who were arrested by the police yesterday and remanded until today for continuing a sathyagraha violating a court order, filed a bail application when they were produced in court yesterday,.

The lawyers stated that their clients are scheduled take an exam on the 10th of this month and further remanding them would result in a severe loss to them and therefore, requested the court to grant bail.

DIG Ajith Rohana with SSP Attorney Ruwan Gunasekara appearing on behalf of the police objected to releasing the suspects on bail.

The officers told the court that the suspects tore away the court notice which stated the order banning the conduct of the Satyagraha in front of the Higher Education Ministry on Saturday. The police pointed out that if they were granted bail, they could again act in violation of court orders.

After considering the submissions, the magistrate stated that violating court orders is a serious matter.

The magistrate pointed out that it was an offensive act and that if the suspects were granted bail, there is a possibility of public disturbance and therefore, the bail application will be rejected.

The Magistrate ordered them to be further remanded until the 16th of this month.

The students of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) conducted a ‘Sathyagraha’ in front of the Ministry of Higher Education from the 27th February claiming that Ruhuna University is carrying out a student crackdown and demanding the removal of the “lunatic” Vice Chancellor.

As the student protest in the vicinity of the Colombo National Hospital is severely inconveniencing the public, the Police had obtained an order from the Colombo Magistrate Court banning the protest, which is blocking a main entrance to the hospital.

However, when Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Ajith Rohan met with the protesting students Saturday (29th) to request to call off the protest, he was met with resistance and a tense situation emerged.

Following the confrontation, the Police arrested 22 university students, including two Buddhist monks, Sunday morning. IUSF convener Ratkarawwe Jinaratana Thero and the Convener of the Inter University Bhikku Federation Galwala Siridhamma Thero were among the arrested.

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