| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( September 12, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) This week I received advice regarding the Restrictions on Land Alienation Bill being discussed in the Sri Lankan Parliament. As per the communication received:
‘The Bill seeks to prohibit the transfer of title of any land situated in Sri Lanka, if such transfer is to a foreigner; or to a company incorporated in Sri Lanka under Companies Act where any foreign shareholding in such company is fifty percent of above; or to a foreign company.’
Within the Sri Lankan Diaspora also there are discussions about Lands in Tamil areas currently being occupied by the Government Forces. Political commentator Tisaranee Gunesekara states as follows in this regard in the Sri Lanka Guardian article “Reengineering a Nation’ :
[The demographic composition of an area is not a constant. Demographic changes can happen naturally, as the cumulative result of actions by private individuals. Demographic changes can also be caused by organised political/ideological intervention, especially by state actors. The North is being subjected to this second variety of demographic transformation, an unjust and punitive process which will render genuine reconciliation and a consensual peace even more impossible.
As The Colombo Telegraph reported, “Vast acres of land that were owned by Tamil families for generations have been handed over to Sinhala families, forming ‘new’ villages. The housing and other infrastructure facilities in these villages are being provided to the resettled Sinhalese families by the Sri Lanka army.” ]
All of the above reflect the thoughts and feelings of various investors in that part of the global-land called Sri Lanka. In Australia also ownership of land was restricted in many ways by the colonial government. One such law was Crown Lands Act 1861 (NSW) about which it is reported as follows:
‘In 1861, the powerful Premier of New South Wales, John Robertson, was determined to break the long-established monopoly of the squatter-pastoralists in land-holding in the colony. He forced two Acts through the Parliament, opening up free selection of Crown land by permitting any person to select up to 320 acres, on the condition of paying a deposit of one-quarter of the purchase price after survey, and of living on the land for three years…… Although the success of their goals was questionable, these Acts had a powerful impact in the ownership and use of vast regions of the Colony (and, in the eyes of some, thereby also encouraging bushranging). In enabling close settlement of pastoral lands still available for use by Aboriginal people, the Acts further limited the lands and economy of the first occupants. They also permanently weakened the political power of the pastoralist class in Australia.’
The last statement above confirms that ‘we do unto others as we would have them do unto us’. In 1861 the Law relating to Land Alienation was aimed at restricting ownership by Aborigines – the first known settlers in this part of the world called Australia. But it handicapped also pastoralists and therefore the economy. Likewise – the proposed Restrictions on Land Alienation legislation would have the effect of economic hardship and loss to many parts of Sri Lankan society. The degree of suffering would be relatively greater for those pampered by the Government.
We develop our real relations through our natural actions. Calculated relationships through a particular system often differs from natural relationships. In the end both sides of that natural relationship are ourselves. Those who realize this are ‘free’ from then onwards. Others who continue to depend on others to complete the relationships tend to feel depressed or overly excited – both of which confirm mental disorder. Sometimes the umpires/ governments/ judges contribute to such distortion. To the extent they did their best as per their position requirements – they do not personally get a share of the negative karma / Energy. Where they failed to do their best – habitually or for a particular purpose – and the genuine participant suffers – the karma is shared at the personal level also. The other side happens at the same time. Hence the likes of Gandhi enjoyed higher quality life even though the umpires demoted them.
The return karma in relation to current Government’s occupation of Traditional Tamil Lands – is returning as fear of ‘Foreign Occupation’ – as confirmed by the proposed legislation. No human law has higher value than the law of Nature. Belief happens through the law of Nature. It is on this basis of belief that Sri Lanka has Prescriptive rights in relation to lands abandoned by legal owners and used and developed by believers. Those in government when they settle their own people in Tamil areas – are acting contrary to this belief. They are causing their own investments in their home areas to be diluted. The real owner does not need to ‘see’ to believe. Wherever s/he establishes her/himself – becomes her/his homeland. The loss of such a person weakens the person/group that caused the departure.
During my visit to Nallur in 2008, I asked some soldiers during an informal discussion about their work in Jaffna. They said they were ‘waiting’ to go back ‘home’. If such soldiers were ‘paid’ to settle-down in Tamil areas – Sinhalese areas would lose that ‘home-ownership’ value. One needs to therefore be careful in meddling with Land rights of believers. Using international principles – land could be taken-over by rulers – if it had been ‘terra nullius’. That cannot be said about Tamil areas and any doubts in that regard could be easily cleared by the memory of lives lost in confirming this entitlement of Tamils. If the current Sri Lankan Government was truly friends with Australian Government – it would learn to express its respect and gratitude to land ownership believers and not damage them and invoke the negative karma upon itself. Hence all public functions in Tamil areas where lives were lost due to belief in self-governance – must include public acknowledgement of respects due to traditional owners of those lands.