Inter University Students' Federation

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Inter University Students' Federation
අන්තර් විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයීය ශිෂ්‍ය බලමණ්ඩලය
Inter University Students' Federation.png
Abbreviation IUSF
Formation 1978
Type Umbrella body of Students Unions[1]
Purpose save free education and against to the privatizing education
~70 students' unions
Official language
English, Sinhala ,Tamil
Lahiru Weerasekara
Subsidiaries Inter Medical Faculty Students' Action Committee,University Bhikku Federation[2]
Affiliations Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna[3]

Inter University Students' Federation (Sinhalese: අන්තර් විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයීය ශිෂ්‍ය බලමණ්ඩලය) is a confederation of students' unions in the Sri Lanka[4][5]. Around 70 students' unions [6]are affiliated, accounting for more than 95% of all higher and further education unions in the Sri Lanka[7]. Inter University Students Federation is the organization that is given leadership to whole university students in Sri Lanka[8].It is the largest student organization in Sri Lanka to date. It represents the voice of student councils and action committees in 15 higher education institutes including all the major universities and technical colleges in sri lanka.[9]


IUSF comprises student unions representing main universities and Action Committees of all universities in Sri Lanka[10][11]. The sole official of the union is known as the convener. Convener carries out all administrative and legal work on behalf of the union.Lahiru Weerasekara is the convener of IUSF since 2015[12]. Inter University Bhikku Federation is an affiliated organization to IUSF[13].



As reforms were initiated in Sri Lanka in 1977, the student movement expressed dissent towards the reforms. Inter University Students’ Federation was formed in 1978[14], with a formation of a leftist mass movement and Shantha Bandara, a student in the science faculty of University of Peradeniya, was elected as its first convener[15] .

Protests and campaigns[edit]

In recent times, most of its campaigns were against the plans to set up private higher educational institutions on the grounds of destroying free education which existed in the country since 1 October 1945.[16]

Notable leaders[edit]

Political affiliation[edit]

The IUSF is formaly affiliated to Marxist-Leninist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.[25][26][27][28]


Conduct of the student union has drawn much criticism in media and university administrations. As a result, University of Jaffna banned IUSF from entering to the university premises in June 2010.[29] Previously, University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa have taken steps to ban the student group from the university. IUSF has been accused of the murder of Samantha Vithanage, a third year Management student of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, who pioneered an anti-ragging campaign in the university.[30]


IUSF admits that it uses strikes as the primary method to meet their demands as it sees no other plausible way.[31] This has raised number of issues regarding the student discipline. Boycotting lectures has caused delays in student graduation time and cancellation of studentships in number of occasions.[32]


IUSF is also criticized for not being able to take necessary action to prevent ragging in Sri Lankan universities. Instead, rival groups such as International Students for Social Equality have suggested that IUSF uses ragging as a means of attracting a following among more backward students.[33] At the beginning, ragging served as a social equalizer in the universities. But with the emergence of JVP-backed student unions such as IUSF, ragging has served primarily to ensure the continuing domination of JVP political power within the universities, academics suggest.[34]

Political intolerance[edit]

Violence inside universities has steadily increased due to political intolerance. IUSF has been accused of obstructing and engineering clashes with rival political groups inside universities.[35][36] In 2009, Prof. Nalin de Silva - Dean of the faculty of Science at the University of Kelaniya - complained that pro-JVP IUSF students have threatened him with death for not agreeing to their political ideologies.[37]


Picketing is another form of protest employed by IUSF to meet their demands by forcing the government. The purpose of most of those protests refer to the protection of "Free Education System" and protecting the student rights. Picketings around Lipton Circus, Maradana and the country's busiest urbs has become common in the recent times. These picketings usually cause traffic jams and chaos in the city with police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the gathering. This has resulted in public inconvenience.[38][39][40]


  1. ^ Asian Bulletin - Volume 14, Issues 2-12 - Page 49
  2. ^ Chandraprema, Candauda A. Sri Lanka, the years of terror: the JVP insurrection, 1987-1989. Lake House Bookshop, 1991.
  3. ^ Authorities and students in tug of war over Uni student’s death
  4. ^ Gileva, Sofya. "Hello, Everyone! We are Glad to Welcome You on the Summer Session of Pilgrim!." ‘Cadjan–Kiduhu’. SensePublishers, 2014. 187-189.
  5. ^ Chandraprema, Candauda A. Sri Lanka, the years of terror: the JVP insurrection, 1987-1989. Lake House Bookshop, 1991.Chandraprema, Candauda A. Sri Lanka, the years of terror: the JVP insurrection, 1987-1989. Lake House Bookshop, 1991.
  6. ^ Alagappa, Muthiah. Civil society and political change in Asia: expanding and contracting democratic space. Stanford University Press, 2004.
  7. ^ "Sri Lanka University students union Leader (IUSF) Sanjeewa Bandara Released". lankauniversity-news. 2013. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  8. ^ "About us". iusfsrilanka. 2010. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  10. ^ Gunaratna, Rohan. Sri Lanka, a Lost Revolution?: The Inside Story of the JVP. Institute of Fundamental Studies, 1990.
  11. ^ "University Students' Union to be Banned - Sri Lanka". lankauniversity. 2012. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  12. ^ "USF Convener Lahiru Weerasekara arrested". adaderana. 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  13. ^ "Inter-University Bhikku Balamandalaya Convenor Ven Thampitiya Sugathananda and Inter University Students Federation Convenor Lahiru Weerasekera Arrested". dbsjeyaraj. 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-05. 
  14. ^ Guṇavardhana, Raṇavīra, ed. More Open Than Usual?: An Assessment of the Experiment in University Education at Peradeniya and Its Antecedents. university of Peradeniya, 1992.
  15. ^ "Our History". Inter University Students' Federation. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  16. ^ "Protests over an opening of private Medical Faculty". Sri Lanka Guardian. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  17. ^ "Transcripts from the campaign trail, November is for remembering". The Island. 2001. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  18. ^ "Creators and destroyers of Peradeniya". The Island. 2007. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  19. ^ "Six injured in varsity clash". Daily News. 2004. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  20. ^ "JVP accused of inciting violence". LankaPuvath. 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  21. ^ "Universities in turmoil with clashes and staff shortages". The Sunday Times. 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  22. ^ "Udul Premaratne is no more a university undergraduate". LankaPuvath. 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  23. ^ Weerasekara-is-the-new-convener-of-iusf "Sanjeewa Bandara is the new convener of IUSF" Check |url= value (help). LankaTruth. 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  24. ^ "New convener of IUSF". 
  25. ^ "Sri Lanka Marxist student union lodges complaint with HRC". Colombo Page. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  26. ^ "Police repression unleashed against Sri Lankan university students". Trans Currents. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  27. ^ "Sri Lankan regime keeps student union convener detained". International Students for Social Equility. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  28. ^ "President moves to stop student strike". The Sunday Times. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  29. ^ "SL bans student group from Jaffna campus". The Nation. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  30. ^ "PM orders report on murder of J'pura student". Daily News. 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  31. ^ "Rational politicisation acceptable to all". The Sunday Observer. 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  32. ^ "Indiscipline in Sri Lanka universities: Ranjit Ruberu". Tamil Canadian. 2003. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  33. ^ "Sri Lankan government revives law to suppress student protests". World Socialist Web Site. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  34. ^ "The Fundamental Threat to Sri Lankan University Education: Prof. Shantha K. Hennayake". Asian Tribune. 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  35. ^ "Kelaniya clash: Dispute over who attacked whom". The Sunday Times. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-01. [dead link]
  36. ^ "Kelaniya University: Students see sinister plan behind clash". The Nation. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  37. ^ "JVP undergrads threatened me with death – Prof Nalin De Silva" (PDF). The Island. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  38. ^ "Police warn of crackdown as JVP slams Govt. over suppression of students' rights". The Island. 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  39. ^ "Police beat back student demo". LankaNewspapers. 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  40. ^ "Sri Lankan Police attacks to undergraduates again". Sri Lanka Guardian. 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 

External links[edit]