The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) is urging all presidential candidates to address the violence in universities perpetrated on newcomers which they say is a “grave humanitarian tragedy that takes place” in State universities.
In a statement signed by Dr Anula Wijesundere and Dr Tara de Mel they say “every Presidential aspirant who speaks of major plans for advancement in education and higher education in this country, but no one has touched on this grave humanitarian tragedy taking place in state universities,”
The statement goes on to say that “today it is no secret that ‘torture chambers’ exist in almost every state university and that nearly 2000 students who had qualified to enter university, with great difficulty, had to leave campus while about 16 students have committed suicide over the years, triggered by incidents of violence at the hands of peers at university.”
It also states that about 270 students are presently receiving treatment for extreme stress, fear, anxiety and mental health conditions consequent to receiving inhuman treatment as freshers.
The SLMA urges from all presidential candidates to direct urgent attention to this matter and to study it in-depth and to take serious steps to stem the crisis in the university system as a potential leader who will be entrusted with the wellbeing of every citizen in Sri Lanka.
“We suggest that elimination of violence in Universities is given top priority in your election manifesto,” the statement added.