Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 16. September 8th 1971
Several thousands who have been arrested are confined in dungeons and concentration camps. The number in the Jails is over 12,000. Even hostages are taken and include the parents and the younger children in the family. Neither their relatives nor their lawyers are permitted to see them. The so-called "Advisory Committee" is the only body to which a detainee could make any kind of representation. But, strangely enough, detainees who are either members or suspected of membership of a proscribed party are debarred from making representation to even the Advisory Committee. And whether a person was a member or suspected of having been a member of the proscribed party (Janata Vimukthi Peramuna) is arbitrarily decided by the Permanent Secretary to the Minisrty of Defence.
The full use of legislation through R Egulations under the Public Security Act has led to a virtual military-police regime. The curfew has been continuously in force throughout the country for nearly 9 hours daily. All democratic rights are withdrawn. Police and military enter houses and buildings at any time for search and arrest of persons. The Courts have no jurisdiction with regard to a wide range of alleged offences. And even where Courts have jurisdiction the police authorities counter the orders of Magistrates and do not allow suspected persons to be brought before the Courts.
There is draconian legislation to cover activities vaguely referred to as being "prejudicial to" so-called public order or public safety The death penalty, and terms of twenty years imprisonment with confiscation of property can be meted out on evidence of even association with persons suspected of conspiring to overthrow the State.
The Janata Vimukthi Peramuna has been banned Thirteen political newspapers have also been banned. There is severe press censorship. Public meetins are not permitted.
A large number of government employees have been dismissed from service for failure to report for duty on a particular date, whatever excuses they offered in regard to their absence from duty These dismissed have no right of appeal to any tribunal. Government has taken the opportunity also to discontinue thousands of workers, mainly engaged in construction work treated as 'casuals' and now declared redundant. Schools remained closed for two months while universities are indefinately closed. Concentration camps, euphemistically called rehabilitation centres have been set up at two universities for all those who have been arbitrarily arrested and called 'insurgents'.
A wide range of services in the public and private sector have been declared "essential services". This means that employees in such places have no right to strike A so-called code of conduct for all employees, issued by the Ministry of Labour has negatived most of the rights won by the workers over the years.