UNP calls on Govt. to withdraw Kotelawala National Defence University Bill

Friday, 9 July 2021 02:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The United National Party (UNP) yesterday called on the Government to withdraw the controversial Kotelawala National Defence University Bill, condemning the decision to move ahead without adequate public consultation.

The UNP questioned the decision of the Government to rush the Kotelawala National Defence University Bill through Parliament without adequate public consultation. 

The party urged the Government to resubmit the bill with amendments following a period of public consultation on the matter. 

“The UNP urges the Government to withdraw the bill and proceed with necessary amendments following a public consultation,” the party said.

The bill was originally proposed by the UNP-led Government in 2018 and was withdrawn after a protest movement led by some academics and university student unions. 

Some critics of the bill, including the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), have alleged that the bill seeks to militarise the education sector and create a loophole for private education, which they claim will undo the benefits of free education. 

Opposition MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya took to Twitter stating that the bill will help create a parallel higher education system and charged that Government MPs were distorting the content of the KNDU bill.

“This issue here is bigger than just KNDU. We are talking about establishing a parallel higher education system! When one raises the hand in support, they should ask themselves about the future that will unfold as a result of their actions,” Dr. Amarasuriya opined. 

A group of persons who protested against the bill outside the Parliament were arrested yesterday, with organisers and some photojournalists alleging that the Police used excessive use on a peaceful protest. A number of the protestors were later granted bail by the Magistrate’s Court.