S Lanka to start military training for students
Sri Lanka will make military training compulsory for university undergraduates.
Colombo: Sri Lanka will make short-term military-style training courses compulsory for university undergraduates despite a court order, a senior official said Sunday.
Some 10,000 students will begin a three-week "leadership training" course at military camps, secretary of the higher education ministry Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said.
"The Supreme Court order has asked us to consider suspending the training," Navaratne said. "We have sought legal advice on this and we are going ahead as scheduled."
The court petition against the training, which is due to start on Monday, called it "degrading" for undergraduates and a violation of their constitutional rights.
The government said it was introducing the scheme to discourage rampant ragging -- bullying of newcomers by older students.
Sri Lanka`s military crushed a decades-long civil war in 2009 when it launched a massive offensive to defeat the Tamil Tiger separatist rebels.
The university military training does not involve the use of weapons, the government said.