Rani Wikrmasinha made it to the inauguration Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies of the University of Kelaniya despite threats of protest.
The students had taken over the administrative building the previous day in protest to the invitation extended to the head of state.
The students made a tactical move and moved out and the presidential security chefs informed the president that the trip to Kaaniya would be a safe one because the students were very much divided on the issue. Many students have expressed the opinion that anyone should be able to safely enter a university, as it’s a public institution.
The new building premises of the Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies of the University of Kelaniya was inaugurated today (31) by President Ranil Wickramasinghe, despite the protests of the students.
The students of the University of Kelaniya protested against the president’s visit, and the police had to fire tear gas to disperse the protest by blocking the main road from Colombo to Kandy the night before.
However, it is said that although the students dispersed from the place, they were protesting until yesterday evening without allowing any party to enter the university administration building. Vice Chancellor of Kelaniya University, Senior Professor Nilanthi De Silva, was able to convince students that it was best for them to move out of the administrative building without being confrontational.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took the podium with a broad smile, said that the foundation of a nation’s economy lies in fostering an enlightened and cultured society.
He also reminded the audience that it’s he who laid the foundation stone many years ago for the new building complex at the Kelaniya University Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies.
, He announced the intention to establish a research institute dedicated to Theravada Buddhism, recognizing the potential of such institutions to propagate the teachings and strengthen ties between Buddhist nations.
He also had something for the students. President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he is ready to provide the land and government support to build a student hostel as requested by the students.
Venerable Raluwe Padmasiri Thera, Professor of the Department of Buddhist Thought, said leaders and politicians should have the opportunity to pursue admission to a university, as universities are not confined spaces