Students, their parents and a group of past pupils of Ananda College yesterday staged a demonstration opposite the school`s main gate to protest the interdiction of the school principal for alleged malpractices in the Year 1 admission process.
A spokesman for the protestors said another major demonstration would be staged when the school reopened for the next term if the issue was not resolved.
He said this was an act by a certain group that envied the school`s excellent record in the fields of education and sports in the recent past.
`The students` performance at the O/L exam shows an unprecedented improvement this year. Some 219 students have passed the exam with eight distinctions. There is a sinister attempt by some elements to discredit the image of schools with a Buddhist identity. This can also be a result of such an attempt,` he said.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry ordered the schools to be closed yesterday ahead of schedule due to the unrest after the principal`s interdiction.
A Ministry official said this decision was taken due to inability to continue academic activities in a situation such as what prevailed in the school.
Joining the dispute UNP Colombo district parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardena condemned the interdiction of the principals of Kingswood and Ananda Colleges.
He said the Presidential Investigation Unit which he cited as a mafia unit, had acted disregarding the Establishment Code which set out the procedure to be followed when public servants were charged with financial malpractices.
`Principals of big schools like these two are appointed according to Education Service procedure and on seniority. There are provisions in the Establishment Code to deal with financial malpractices. In addition there is a Bribery Commission. All these have been sidelined by the PIU in this case,` he said.
Responding to these allegations, a PIU spokesman said action was taken to nab the culprits who were engaged in misdeeds under cover of the Buddhist flag.
`We do not target only Buddhist schools. Some leading Catholic schools are also in our list,` he said.
Meanwhile, the interdicted principal Abeyratne yesterday urged all concerned not to disrupt the academic activities of students due to the present situation.
In a statement, he said he would prove his innocence.
`On a decision taken by the Education Ministry, I have been interdicted. I feel past pupils, students, teachers and parents have been shocked by this act. I believe I carried out my duties properly according to my conscience and in keeping with the laws of the country. Therefore, I request everybody to act lawfully and abstain from activities which might disrupt studies,` he said.