17 August, 2017

Government’s Land Grab: The Bigger Picture

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

President Sirisena’s gazette notification to declare lands occupied by the IDP Muslims in the Mannar District on the pretext of widening the perimeter of the Wilpattu National Park and protecting the environment should be viewed not simplistically as an anti-Muslim measure but more than that it should be considered in the overall context of policies embedded in the ruling neo-liberal economic paradigm. In this light the battle for revoking that notification should be fought not only by the victims of the President’s decision alone but by the general public.

Under the ruling paradigm, zealously advocated by its international patrons such as the IMF, World Bank and the U.S., and which champions the cause of free market, private enterprise, interests of capital and small government, economic resources should flow from the unproductive poor to the productive rich. This is how, according to these paragons of capitalism, the grand objective of higher economic growth could be promoted and its benefits could trickle down to the undeserving poor. As one of U.S’ anti-establishment economists John Kenneth Galbraith once wrote, “you feed the horse with oats so that something will drop from behind for the sparrows to eat”.

The poor have only two things to offer to the rich, labour and or land. Labour will be exploited by the market in the absence of minimum wage legislations and trade union power, but the land has to be acquired either through market forces or with the assistance of the state meaning forced evictioins. In many parts of the world including Sri Lanka the little piece of land on which the poor survive is the only asset they possess. In the urban areas these lands are part of the urban slums and in the rural area they are the hovels from which the poor multiply. To the rich and the powerful these are ugly scenes that spoil their surroundings and hinder capitalists’ productive enterprise. Hence, these ugly spots should be removed with the support of the state. This removal is one of the tasks assigned to the governments under neoliberal capitalism. One government that vigorously undertook to fulfil this task was the former government in Egypt under Hosni Mubarak. We all know what happened to his reign. Regretfully the situation there has not improved under the Sisi regime. The local bourgeoisie and their international power brokers successfully re-established the ancient regime.

What is happening now in Sri Lanka is the gradual unfolding of this policy by exploiting the current ethnic tensions in the country. Wilpattu attracts foreign tourists which brings in precious dollars to fill an already bankrupt government treasury. The larger the area of the park the greater will be its attraction to tourists and bigger will be the potential for profit making to tourist hotels and income to their service providers. Local capital will be in collusion with its foreign partners to maximise the opportunity. Obviously a government that has mortgaged its survival to the benevolence and conditionality of the IMF and its co-money-managers has no choice but to victimise the poor to the benefit of the rich. The country is sinking in foreign debt and the poor are squeezed through indirect taxes and dwindling public expenditure on education, health and other welfare enhancing projects. It is not the protection of the forest that is the main concern but maximising the dollar benefits of tourism. A government that cannot save its people from the dangers of mounting rubbish dumps is dying to save forests! 

Because the lands that are now acquired affect only the minorities and not the majority community the ultra-Sinhala nationalists are urging the government to acquire even more lands from them. These chauvinists should realise that even lands occupied by the poor Sinhalese will be targeted one day when global capital and its domestic agents demand more resources to build their exploitative empires. A stich in time saves nine.

Foreign capital is flowing into Sri Lanka in the name of direct investment mainly from three quarters, India, China and oil rich Arab countries. It is coming in not to enrich the Sri Lankans but to have an economic strangle hold over the country. Neoliberalism will ultimately lead to neo-colonialism. Unless the country shifts its economic policy from servicing the interest of capital towards serving the interest of its people there is no salvation in the near or medium future. Changing regimes without change in economic direction is no solution.

In the meantime, Muslim leaders and parliamentarians who are now fighting for the cause of the Mannar Muslims should also have the courage to fight against the ills of foreign capital in general and Arab capital in particular. Sri Lanka has an illustrious history of collective resistance against economic exploitation. The nation must wake up to the dangers of economic neoliberalism.            

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business and Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 5
    2

    The fundamental requirement for a country to have peace and prosperity is JUSTICE, where there is no justice, there will be destruction and calamities, this is the law of the land throughout the history.

    when the country was ruled by the British the country was prospering and was one of the best economies and prosperous countries in the world because there was justice for everyone, from the day they left it’s started to going down south, and still continuing…

  • 11
    2

    It is not a ‘Land Grab’.

    All land of the country is the property of the government, and is only ‘leased’ for citizens for use. In every country of the world, Governments have the right to repossess land at any time.

    The rule applies to Muslims in Sri Lanka too. When he government says occupation of forest reserves by Muslims harms the environment, that need to beobeyrd.

    Muslims are working on a ‘persecution conspiracy’ to get more power in the country. Over our dead bodies Thambi!

  • 2
    0

    I agree with arguements of Dr Ameer Ali ?..but do you think that governemnt is doing this with this intension in mind. In order to get financial flow from abroad and appease all these countries SL is doing this …it looks somewhat odd?

  • 4
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    Hello Doctor of Management Science of Genghis Khan Management School

    You have stated;

    “Because the lands that are now acquired affect only the minorities and not the majority community the ultra-Sinhala nationalists are urging the government to acquire even more lands from them. These chauvinists should realise that even lands occupied by the poor Sinhalese will be targeted one day when global capital and its domestic agents demand more resources to build their exploitative empires”

    Bloody Humbug theory, The land of Unitary state of Sri Lanka belongs to the Central Government of Sri Lanka. Obviously, a graduate of Genghis Khan Management School does not understand the functioning of democracy and the Central government. To begin with there is not a single inch in Sri Lanka that that belongs to Muslims who came as illegal migrants from south India. Chauvinist political leaders backed by fellows like you keep on promoting illegal occupation of Lands that belong to all citizens of Sri Lanka. The government is the duly appointed care taker of this land. What President did was absolutely correct, you may opt to elect Mahinda or the other dirty bugger Ranil in the next election. The political game will go on to secure the Muslim votes BUT Sinhalese will never give into your ploys

    • 2
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      Bibile Maama

      “To begin with there is not a single inch in Sri Lanka that that belongs to Muslims who came as illegal migrants from south India.”

      Very funny. Very good point. Relevant point. Interesting point.

      How did your own ancestors arrive on this island, were they entitled to migration visa?

      Please remember this land belonged to my people before the advent of Kallathonies and persistent land grab by them.

    • 0
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      Bibile Maama, that means land in Sri Lanka does not belong to Kallathoni Sinhalese and Tamils as you too were from India. Do you belongs to Vedda or devil’s tribe? Then I will forgive thinking you modaya clans.

  • 1
    1

    Mannar Muslims, Wilpattu Muslims, Eastern Province Muslims, Jaffna Muslims, Colombo and WP Muslims, Kandyan Muslims, Negombo-Puttalam
    Muslims. And how many Provincial Councils are planned? The Maldives
    was secular only a few decades ago. Today, it is enslaved under Sharia
    under a mono-religious grip. All other faiths and religions are otherwise banned there. The Halal conspiracy was eventually defeated. Are the machinations of global Islamic conquest the next.

    What is in store for the rest of us.

    A.D.J. Perera

    • 3
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      A.D.J. Perera

      “What is in store for the rest of us.”

      What have you lost that you cry for?

      What did you bring, that you have lost?

      What did you create that was destroyed?

      What you have taken has been from here, what you gave has been given here.

      What belongs to you today belonged to someone yesterday and will be someone else’s tomorrow.

      Change is the law of the universe.

      – Bhagavad Gita

      • 2
        1

        Dear Natïve Veddah,

        As always, you add value to the generous pages of the CT. Well done
        and thank you.

        What a contrast to some aging men who bring disgrace and infamy to these pages – particularly in the eyes of the increasing number of non-Lankan overseas readers.

        Kettikaran

        .

        • 1
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          kettikaran

          “What a contrast to some aging men who bring disgrace and infamy to these pages – particularly in the eyes of the increasing number of non-Lankan overseas readers.”

          Are you a paid agent of

          1. The Israelis
          2. Christian fundamentalists
          3. Norwegians?

          Just curious, because there are perturbations to that effect.

          • 2
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            Amarasiri

            The Israelis were sent to this island in the early 1980s to annoy Hindians and to advise JR and his son how to set up internal/external spy network, dismantle the Tamils’ claim to contiguous homeland from Pointpedro to Pottuvil and the set up STF.

            Christian fundamentalists may seem nutters however they bring good news to the entire world, and promise to take you or send you to kingdom of god.

            Norwegians have played their part in dismantling and destroying LTTE. They were invited to this island by Ranil precisely for this reason with the blessing of Hindia and USA. Since they have accomplished their mission, they may be meddling in elsewhere. Please find out.

            “Are you a paid agent of 1. The Israelis 2. Christian fundamentalists 3. Norwegians?”

            Payment does not always motivate agents.

          • 0
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            Amarasiri,

            Be assured I am none and that includes the TNA, LTTE and all other
            your warped friend Hussain often accuses Tamils of. Let me also add
            I also believe most Muslims in the country also are not as prejudiced, hateful or narrow. They are peaceful and wish to live harmoniously with other communities. The problem is the Islam fanaticism that has resulted in Muslims all over the non-Muslim world being targeted and on the run. There is a strong element of this in the Island now for sometime.

            Be sure this is not personal but I am convinced Hussain’s excesses have harmed your community.

            Kettikaran

            • 0
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              kettikaran, I always see your comments on any article that was relevant to Muslims and you keep on pouring your venom and hatred in the lowest possible language and without any proof to the relevant subject. 60% of LTTE cadre were Tamil Christian and the rest low caste Tamils. Low caste Tamils was not branded by me but by your own Northern Tamils who consider themselves as high caste. These Tamils supported the government to get rid of the LTTE. The reason LTTE had the full support from western countries was because majority were Christians. Anton Balasingham the LTTE spokesman was a Christian and was working in American Embassy before. He was the catalyst behind the manipulation of sending Tamils as refugees to western countries thus creating income for LTTE. You must be a left over member of LTTE and of course the LTTE were good pals of Israel who trained them at the beginning. Now they had taken you as paid servant to boot-lick them. The Israelis are master propagandist and attackers of Muslims and Islam. They have low caste Tamil and even some Sinhalese agents to attack Muslims here. You are one of them. Otherwise there is no need for you to attack Muslim at every. turn.

    • 0
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      A.D.J. Perera,

      “The Maldives was secular only a few decades ago. Today, it is enslaved under Sharia”

      Be thankful, we still have a value proposition with our old-school tourist facilities and ineffective promotions

    • 0
      0

      Perera, Halal brand is a trillion dollar export industry worldwide. Some of the best brands carry Halal emblem on their packets. You modayas does not know how to benefit from that. Go to Singapore and see about Halal first.

  • 0
    0

    Why did you leave for Australia. being such a grand patriot you should have been here and presented an elaborate program of action to free the people from the economic capitalism of the neo-liberals to which group even the Australians belong. For you they are good because they look after you, but Sri Lankan state is bad as they want to protect the environment.

  • 1
    1

    Wrong analysis. There are no Muslim IDPs in Sri Lanka. So called Muslim IDPs are all hoax. Muslim IDP drama was choreographed by then MR government to get votes at UN, MR even donated US$ 1 million in financial assistance to Palestine.

    Nobody lives in the poorly built huts, which were built by the most corrupt politician whose family members own 5000 or so acres.

    The corrupt politician’s henchmen are patrolling in the Wilpattuwa jungle. As the LTTE terrorism began, Muslim people in north went back home to Tamil Nadu. Few families may have settled in Puttalama, Gampaha and Colombo.

    Besides those Muslims’ previous generation were known as Kallathonies/ illegal immigrants, they got their fraudulent Sri Lankan birth certificates and land deeds through corrupt Muslim lawyers and corrupt Muslim Justices of peace. 90% Muslims are recent illegal immigrants. There are no land deeds, no pictures of alleged IDPs.

    Badudeen was struggling to answer on Derana 360 program, he was lying on the program.

    • 1
      0

      As I witnessed, Hired Bus loads arrive and disgRoge Muslim IDPS at
      Ganewalpola gomarankadawala road Muslim school NEAR VILLAGE TANK.
      poor people must get their free Rations and money given by NGOs And Govenment.

      imagine that one Mohmed Abdulla registered as I D P in puttalam district N W P comes to Kekirawa, Ganewalpola in Anurdhapurra N C P to get government compensations and freebies,
      then leaving to Baticoloa, kaththankudi E P same evening, again to get government compensations and freebies,
      names can BE manipulated as no body is checking on districtS wise list.

      By the way SRI LANKA , ILLAN KA STYLE.

      ALLAHU AKBAER, INSHALLAH WE SALUTE OUR MUSLIM BRETHREN IN SRI LANKA.

      HO HO HO HO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    • 2
      3

      Muslims are first to arrive in Sri Lanka before the Sinhalese and Tamils. The Sinhalese came later and Vjeya was deported from India. Vijeya was the first Kallathoni to arrive with 200 criminals from Andra Pradesh, India. The Sinhalese are the decedents of Vijeya the first Illegal Kallathoni.

      Sharia is the only law that will bring peace to our country.

      • 1
        0

        Naufer,

        You can try to introduce Sharia in SL. But expect a sever retaliation from us. When the new war comes, I swear I will join the Army for free. I am in my mid 60s and not afraid of life. I will die for my country if that is what is needed.

        And our boys in the army, don’t scream when they come for you. This time around they are going to have some good war trophies to show given that Muslim girls are much prettier than the Tamil ones.

        It’s part of the strategy. And I am sure all you Muslim Men will be shouting Allah Hooo Akbar when the army boys come for you.

        • 1
          1

          Over 12 countries helped MARA to win the war against the Mighty LTTE. China & Pakistan supplied Chemical weapons and those weapons killed innocent Tamil civilians including the LTTE. According to the UN over 75,000 Tamil civilians perished. In a direct battle sure the army would have lost. The Govt. fought the LTTE for 30 years.

          If the Arab countries stop sending oil the Sri Lankan economy will collapse.

        • 1
          0

          Rtd. Lt. Reginald,

          I am not sure if you’re faking around putting your post in CT comment boxes, or if you’re real. Either way, please take this advice:

          If you’re faking around with this name, you are pathetic, should be ignored always.

          If not, you’re a disgrace for the forces. And you’re a disgrace for the age you have mentioned up. If you were in the front line of seeing the horrific bloody war, being a lucky survivor now, you should be the first person to say ‘NO’ to war.

          Remember, winning the war was not just you guys fighting alone, every citizen of SL, every housemaid washing Arab toilets, several country’s (including Muslim countries) efforts that helped us ended the war.

          Okay, forget being a military man, in your such an old age, you have talked about SL Army raid or raping women, and this comes in a time when the world and IC having serious doubts on our forces.

          Remember, the was forces won, did not end in just 3 days. If that was the case, you can boast. But it took 30 long years with both sides equally losing. Also remember, every time you raided Tamil women, there are Sinhalese women, became widows, and kids losing their fathers. It was also reported such widows ending up at massage parlous or other similar places – damages were equal.

          Plus you must remember you represented equally all Sri Lankans, and not just one community. If our poor maids and other countries did not fund us, you would have left the forces for non payments or not being able to support your family back in Colombo, or you would have had to use just the kitchen knives to fight LTTE.

          So please respect your title, respect the forces of SL, be a good ambassador and above all respect your age.

          Please don’t get aroused by Naufer like idiot’s comments. SL becoming Sharia is not going to happen even after 200 years – Relax, enjoy the life, no need to go back to fight another war while the first war was not completely ended.

      • 2
        0

        Kudu Naufer,

        There was nothing (nada, zero) known as ISLAM at the time Sinhalese established their country.Please learn history and origin of ISLAM before making this sort of outrageous statements. It simply proves you all are ignorant scumbags.

        • 0
          0

          Without the Chemical weapons supplied by China and Pakistan the GOSL will be still fighting the LTTE. The Chemical weapons been used against the Tamil civilians according to UN sources.

          Allow an International Inquiry conducted by the UN the truth will come out. The Muslims did not take any part in the war because the Tamils are our brothers and they speak Tamil.

        • 0
          0

          Buddha is a born Hindu. Buddhists have no God and they worship Hindu Gods like Kali Amma and Paththini. The Sinhalese Attacked and Destroyed and looted most of the Hindu Kovils during the Genocide of 1983. Muslims helped and saved thousands of Tamil families from the marauding Buddhist Sinhalese in 1983.Ravana from the Yakka tribe was the first King of Ceylon and the last King was Wickremabahu Rajasinghe a Tamil from South India. When Prince Vijeya landed with his 200 Criminals later they got married to Yakkar and Nagar tribes according to Mahavamsa the Buddhist chronicle.

          According to Archaeological findings the Muslims were living before Vijeyas illegal arrival.

    • 0
      0

      John you are a Tamil paraya or Sinhala paraya or hora shot paraya. Tamil IDP drama was choreographed by Jaffna Tamils to bring kallathoni Tamils from South India, as the LTTE terrorism began, Tamil Kallathonis people in north went back home to Tamil Nadu. Besides those Tamils’ previous generation were known as Kallathonies/ illegal immigrants, they got their fraudulent Sri Lankan birth certificates and land deeds through corrupt Tamil lawyers and corrupt Tamil Justices of peace.90% Tamils are illegal immigrants came to Sri Lanka from beggar’s area like Madurai, Rameswaram, Tiruchi etc in India. North of Sri Lanka was closest and easiest point to land. That is why Tamils are in majority in the North. HELLO DONKEY JOHN, see I can go on writing like this pages after pages like you rascal writing because of the hatred you have on Muslim. So you third rate shit stop commenting unless you have solid proofs with dates, reference etc.

  • 0
    0

    GoSL must take into consideration the humane aspect of the Muslim IDPs. GoSL will say that they are only repossessing the lands which is technically different from land-grab.

    The forceful occupation of privately land, homes and businesses in N&E by Lankan Armed Services is “grabbing” and that too with bullets. Is Ameer Ali aware of this?

  • 1
    2

    Ameer ali,

    There were no Muslims in the Wilpattu area unless Muslims were Veddhas. I know because I have served in this area for so long. Wilpattu was a place even the Tigers found the terrain too difficult to live. But after the war the and now with road construction Wilpattu has become accessible. Amd Muslims are eyeing this priced piece of land. Muslims are asking for severe thrashing with this unlimited greed I can tell you.

    • 0
      0

      Rtd. Lt. Reginald Shamal Perera says: “……….. Muslims are asking for severe thrashing with this unlimited greed ……… “

      Reginald has confessed that “severe thrashing” is freely used by Lankan armed services. It is obvious that torture, rape, extra-judicial killings were in use. Did he carry a book on human rights in one hand? The former and present GoSL are trying their best to deflect UNHRC. Do the Reginalds deserve shielding?

    • 3
      0

      Genuinely displaced Muslims should be settled at their original homes and their lands should be returned to them. They do not deserve any thrashing but sympathy and help for what they went through

  • 0
    0

    first muslims should prove without beyond doubt how come muslims are IDPs existing even after 27 years. Even if an infant were born in 1990, by now he/she is a fully grown adult.

    Muslim IDPs have colonized puttalam, and anuradhapura. This clearing of wilpattu and also some other areas of wanni are part of muslims colonization. Now, this attempt is Rishad Bathiuudin establishing his dynasty as a politician, everybody knows he got from some middle eastern country. With this attempt they colonize ther whole wilpattu to other end of Sri lanka. Look like they are building a hugh homeland. that is what hilmy ahmed showed with his maps. wilpattu is at one end of the Country . Manik farm is at another end of the country.

    • 1
      2

      If Sinhalese are claiming that they were kicked out of Jaffna 40 years ago and want to be relocated to Jaffna after living as IDPs for 40 years, why is it difficult for BBS terrorists to accept Muslims can be IDPs for 27 years. There must be a limit to double standard and stupidity.

      • 1
        0

        AJ:

        You are stateless for ever.

  • 1
    0

    Stop breeding like no tomorrow. You all will get disease and die. Lets have a
    Birthplan that will fix these issues but you Muslims want to take over the world it will not happen as you are very selfish bunch and will kill each other like animals

    • 2
      0

      Sad,

      Very good point. Mandatory sterilization of Muslims is needed to quell this trend. If not we will be like Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Maldives which were all former Buddhist countries where the Muslim minorities exploited the kindness.

      • 1
        0

        Rtd. Lt. Reginald, you are talking like an idiot. The reason Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Maldive etc. converted to Islam because when Arabs and Persian Muslim traders and Muslim scholars visited these countries indigenous people found Islam was a vibrant religion unlike their lethargic Buddhism according to which Buddhist priest grew more and more and became a big burden to the society because they have to feed them, give cloth etc. Naturally they converted, if not for the western colonialist even Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand etc would be Muslims countries today.
        You were in the army so don’t you remember how Muslim country Pakistan helped by playing a major role in the gradual transformation of a once ceremonial army into a formidable fighting force. When Sri Lanka sought arms from India who created the Tamil rebels, said first to settle Tamils issues. When sought from USA they said to get India’s approval. Brigadier Mahamood chose training camps in Sri Lanka and launched an intensive training programme. They even trained in their country sri Lanka army officers. Local Muslims too were helping from the beginning for a unitary state. Israel on the other hand was the trainer of LTTE, that is why LTTE was a good fighting force. When Sri Lanka sent some army officers for purchase some equipment and training and since LTTE were getting training in a camp near, in order to avoid SL army officers seeing them, the commander of that section said, “give a banana to each officer and send them back”. That is indirectly they were saying send these monkeys back. See what an ungrateful bastard you are. Who is paying you for Muslim bashing.

      • 0
        0

        Such idea comes off a Nazi mind. Rtd. Lt. Reginald Shamal Perera has let the cat out – he was in charge of making the white-van cargo disappear.

  • 2
    0

    RTD LT. Reginald

    So are you planning to give a thrashing/ 1915 Mangolla to these innocent helpless people. You say have served the army but it seems impossible for you to be a civilized human and you behave like some barberic Budhist monks who want t destroy the non- Budhist.

    Are you claiming you are greed free.

    Racists like you are the cause for all ills in th country.

    You buggers are begging the wealthy Muslim countries to survive and you should realize it.

  • 0
    0

    “Muslims are asking for severe thrashing with this unlimited greed I can tell you” This is an unnecessary and uncalled for threat by an ex-Army man who has the audacity to identify him. Even if the Muslims in the area are illegally encroaching, the issue should be handled through the process of the laws. Subjecting men, women, children, the old and infirm to physical abuse and violence, as threatened, is a repeat of 7/83 that brought this country to global disrepute. It is issues such as this during the internal “War” that brought this and the earlier Govt to serious trouble with the UN, ICJ/Hague. The Army and the State are desperately trying to cover up the allegations – for years now.

    Kettikaran

  • 2
    0

    During the LTTE war, Tamils living in side Wilpattu ate most of the animals inside the park. Now muslims want to claim the most of the park as their homeland. some of the intruders are from Pakistahan and even from Iran.

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