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Updated: January 11, 2012 19:19 IST

Jarawa footage: Andaman administration to serve notice to TV channels

PTI
Comment (34)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
NOT A TOURIST ATTRACTION: Members of the Jarawa tribe in the Andaman Islands. A Handout Photo.
The Hindu NOT A TOURIST ATTRACTION: Members of the Jarawa tribe in the Andaman Islands. A Handout Photo.

The Andaman and Nicobar administration on Tuesday said that it would serve legal notice on two Delhi-based TV channels telecasting a video footage showing a group of tribal women being ordered to dance for tourists by a policeman.

British newspaper, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Observer’, a weekly, had released video footage of police involvement in ’human safaris’ in the Andaman Islands. The videos were recently aired on the two Delhi-based channels.

The policeman had allegedly taken a bribe of £ 200 to take tourists into the protected Jarawa reserve.

While Andaman and Nicobar police remained tight-lipped about the incident, administration sources told PTI that legal notice would be served on the two TV Channels regarding this matter as the footage was one-sided and they had not taken the version of administration or cross-checked with it.

The sources said the administration was “totally against Jarawa tourism” but ruled out closure of the Andaman Trunk (ATR) road ordered by the Supreme Court a decade ago to protect the Jarawa habitat. The road cuts through South Andaman where the Jarawa reserve is located, linking Port Blair with Diglipur in North Andaman.

The official said any decision on closure of the road, the lifeline of the Middle and North Andamans, would take time as it was a policy decision but said an alternative route via sea was being chalked out to bypass the Jarawa reserve.

A Supreme Court ruling in 2002 on the Shekhar Singh Commission report had ordered closure of the ATR road to protect the Jarawas.

The scandal, first exposed by Survival International, an NGO in 2010, involves tourists using an illegal road to enter the reserve of the Jarawa tribe.

Tour companies and cab drivers ‘attract’ the Jarawa with biscuits and sweets, The Guardian and The Observer had said in their report published in January last year.

The video showed a group of Jarawa women being ordered to dance for tourists by a policeman, who had reportedly accepted a £200 bribe to take them into the reserve.

One tourist had previously described a similar trip to the newspapers. “The journey through tribal reserve was like a safari ride as we were going amidst dense tropical rainforest and looking for wild animals, Jarawa tribals, to be specific”, he said.

Survival International has called for tourists to boycott the road.

Working with a local organization, SEARCH, Survival has distributed leaflets to tourists arriving at the Islands’ airport warning of the dangers of using the road.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said, “This story reeks of colonialism and the disgusting and degrading ‘human zoos’ of the past.”

“Quite clearly, some people’s attitudes towards tribal people haven’t moved on a jot. The Jarawa are not circus ponies bound to dance at anyone’s bidding,” Mr. Cory said.

The lone Member of Parliament from the Islands, Bishnupada Ray told PTI that the video tapes were very old and government should take immediate action against this.

He said that ATR road should not be shut down because the ATR is the life line of Middle and North Andamans people.

He also said in the present scenario, the Jarawas wanted to come into mainstream and the government needed to “welcome and support the Jarawa community to join the mainstream on humanitarian ground.”

Renowned environmentalist of Andaman, Samir Achariya, however, supported the Shekhar Singh Commission recommendation on closure of the ATR road for survival of primitive Jarawa tribe.

No doubt, it is shame on the part of Andaman and Nicobar Islands's administration. They could not implement the orders passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. We should be thankful to the TV channels who have been able to bring out the fact depicting the exploitation of these poor people at the hands to Policemen. I appreciate the comments by Aritra Gupta.

from:  Rajinder Pal Singh
Posted on: Jun 1, 2012 at 07:32 IST

I see a lot of people advocating for the Jarawas to be brought into
the mainstream. I'm sure you guys mean well, but that is well nigh
impossible. These people are so cut-off from us that the first whiff
of the modern atmosphere (the literal atmosphere, the air) might kill
them off. Most medicines too might either fail or do more harm than
good. Cos our bodies have transformed through the ages to match what
we face, both disease and cures. They haven't developed in that sense.
And I most certainly do not see how the MP came in the know of what
the Jarawas want. He is a commerce grad, and as far as I know, not
related to them in any way. How does he get this knowledge that defies
what scholars on the subject are saying - scholars from institutions
like JNU?

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Jan 13, 2012 at 02:46 IST

Seems the Center is in on this. The latest news is that even the Center has identified the video as being 3-4 years old and so it has made its primary task that of nabbing whoever shot the video. The revered HM, when asked about the steps to be taken against the A&N administration, mumbled some mumbo-jumbo about following traditional systems and similar garbage. And this even as a JNU researcher said that the video is relatively new.
Even apart from all that - why is there a road and a "safari" when the Supreme Court ordered a Jarawa buffer zone? And the MP has the gall to say that the road WILL continue to operate? So the SC's orders are worthless pieces of paper, and all the power is in the mouths of MP's? Is this what our forefathers fought tooth and nail against the Brits for?

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Jan 13, 2012 at 02:36 IST

It's a shame for humanity and country which boasts of protector of human rights and culture. Indian peninsula is known as cultural capital of world, should take the moral responsibility of protecting cultural heritage. It’s not only a question of cultural heritage but also of human rights. As fundamental rights to humanity like RIGHT TO FOOD is being violated. It’s a cause of bigger concern for the country like India which claims of food sufficiency by implementing FOOD SECURITY BILL. Now as human being, it’s our moral responsibility to raise the issue in such a way that policy makers are compelled to preserve cultural heritage and to protect human rights.

from:  Shikhar Awasthi
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 21:26 IST

This is what the British did to us - exploited us, insulted our Dharma or sciences, yoga and Ayurveda and made our culture look backward to the point where we still look down upon it. Do we want to do that to the Jarawas ? Nature has evolved different races and cultures in different ways - that is what gives diversity and beauty to this planet. Today they live in peace in their natural habitat.If they move to cities they will work in construction or in a slum. Let us leave them as they are and protect them as long as we can. If anything, WE need to learn from them.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 18:57 IST

The more you read of the way we have been treating the Jarawa tribe should shame us all. Look however, at the diversionary action of the government instead of booking the culprits and stopping such activities forthwith. This tribe that numbered 10000 in the 18th century has dwindled to some 403. They are said to be trusting, "innocent and hugely vulnerable to exploitation". Even these are being used as playthings by the tourists. Tourists are reported to be throwing bananas and biscuits form their buses to the jarawas outside just like we do for animals in safari parks. Daily convoys consist of nearly 130 cars and 25 buses. Police are said to have taught them how to beg. Some cases are noticed where Jarawa woman give birth to babies fathered by outsiders which are not accepted by the community and killed. Indian traders, tourist companies are exploiting them for commercial purpose. Will the Parliament grill the concerned ministers during its budget session.

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 16:56 IST

It is outrageous. Why not the government rehabilitate the tribe who are poverty stricken and even dance nude in exchange for food.

from:  SRAVANA RAMACHANDRAN
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 15:11 IST

Lesson learnt is never go to Andaman's for tourism as at every step you could be violating laws & fall into preset trap to land in jail. Visit Langkawi in Malaysia where there is plenty of beauty & no jail. Modern Indians may have forgot but in British time visit to Andaman's was " Saza-e-Kalapani ".

from:  Shaleen Mathur
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 14:18 IST

Why do we kept the Jarawa in an isolated area.They are also human beings.They can think and act like us.It is inhuman to treat them like an animal kept in a zoo.Their numbers are reduced to 403 even after they are allowed to live in their own primitive environment.Our approach towards them should change. Education can be exposed to them by retaining their cultural identity.Eduction experts of good track record and special skill can be appointed for it.If they are allowed to continue in the present state,exploitation will become easier and which will lead to their extinction.Treat them like Ginea Pig is not a matter of proud to a nation with rich heritage and culture.

from:  Sreenivasan.O.T. Moilothara
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 13:45 IST

There have been many cases of women paraded naked in India, also exposed those in multimedia news. Why don't Govt taking any strict action against those culprits rather moving away to Andaman issues.

from:  Sajith
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 13:32 IST

So it would be better that remain poor and destitute and die young?

from:  zigot
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 10:36 IST

'Guardian'and TV channels showed nothing wrong, but beautifully distinguished the calibre/knowledge/attitude(anthrophology) between few Indian tourists/tour operators and western tourists towards innocent tribesman(own countrymen/one of the peculiar tribals in the world with only 500 people left) who were bonded with nature/environment.

from:  g.a.raj
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 10:30 IST

It is outrageous that the enforcers of the law, the police, are breaking it by taking bribes and allowing tourists to treat the Jarawa people as jungle animals. On top of that the administration is defying a Supreme Court order. The administration as a whole is breking the law by keeping the road open. At least, they could ban tourism in this area.
Your own story ends by calling them primitive. This is outrageous too. It is patronising and judgmental. Who is to decide who is primitive? Let us face it. The native tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are facing obliteration at a minimum and extinction at a maximum. Their fate is similar to the natives of the Americas. By allowing contact with outsiders, they are exposed to diseases which can kill them all off. The Guardian story reports that the Great Andamanese around Port Blair numbered at 10,000 in the 18th century are reduced to just fifty today. The Jareawa number just 403. For a few tourist Rupees do we kill them all off?

from:  K.V. Nagarajan
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 09:54 IST

A sick society in action. What is new in India. Indians keep on screwing their own people. India has no business of owning the Andaman Islands. I you want to learn how to be corrupted go to India. India a population of 1 billion, still you have nothing to show. Sorry yes you do..the Caste systtem. Isnt it enlightning.

from:  dave khan
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 09:50 IST

It is a national shame. It is a human rights violation. In exchange
for food the exploitation of the tribals is a humiliation and inhuman.
It shows how poor are the poor being treated in our country. Those who
are responsible for the act should be brought to book.

from:  N. R. RAMACHANDRAN
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 09:02 IST

They did no more than they do to their own Indain people .WE ARE TALKING ABOUT INDIA. NOT THE GREATEST PLACE TO LIVE.

from:  Steve Sullivan
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 07:59 IST

Only showing that the A&N "administration" is a band of thugs and
heartless miscreants who will do anything for money. Are they pimps?
The MP is nobody to speak for the Jarawas. The independent study shows
that Jarawas like being left alone and we should do so. Remember they
are our national responsibility and our heritage. Its a matter of
national shame on a par with malnutrition that they are being
exploited and tourists are condoning and enjoying this act.
And FYI the buffoons who are mistaken for an administration, the media
doesn't need to check with you for exposing your sordid secrets. The
media exists so that you cannot sweep the dirt under the carpet, but
rather that you will be dragged through the very same dirt one day. I
would have believed your excuse had you invited independent observers
immediately to see for themselves rather than initiate lawsuits.
Innocent individuals are vindicated by the law
Criminals use the law to get vindicated
Get the point?

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 04:30 IST

i feel sad. Why government of India has not provided a decent living
so far. If one is given a decent life one need not to be a circus
phony.When supreme court ordered that area not be on the tour route
how come tourists can approach that area without the connivance of the
authorities. video photographers will take photos if not why do you
produce videos or why do you allow videos reach that area. it is clear
administration indeed at fault. Government talks so much about
economic development , can't it do give needed economic security just
400 jharwas.
I do not buy the great government stories. If as per that MP it is old
video means that he seems to be aware last so many years what he has
done to provide livelihood fr jharwas.
Punishing or threatening to punish the video cameraman/men is some
exercise to wash of the administration's sins as administration knows
tourism is promoted in Andhamans and all the more the government
should take adequate measures.

from:  Dr G Balakrishnan
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 00:47 IST

The Jarawas are perfectly free to come to the mainstream. No one is
stopping them. But we shouldn't force them either. If they are happy
the way they are, let them be.It's sad the TV channel is being hauled up, while no mention is made about the allegedly erring policemen or administrative process.

from:  Pradeep Nair
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 23:07 IST

Shame ... Instead of legal action against channels, it is prudent to take stringent action against the personnel involved in "human safari", it is in the best interest of tribe to let them live according to their wish. We need not to poke our nose in this matter.

from:  shrikant katole
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 23:05 IST

Hi everyone, Jarawas are very unique human being in themselves. The UNESCO/GOI is not preventing them from entering the main stream. they >are our own brothers and sisters... but let them take their time and join us..lets not lure them to join us by showing outfits or eating habits. They are primitive in every way and we are considered as intruders and lets respect their privacy.

from:  Dhayalan
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 23:02 IST

Shame and disgusting.

from:  Kannan
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 23:01 IST

Instead of serving notice to T.V. channels why not Andaman administration strictly protect the Jawara communities? I visited Andaman in 2008 and traveled national highway near witch Jawara living. Tough there are written instructions hanged on bus stop how not to give fruits to them not contact with them.Fact is that as bus passed on that road some Jaewara came on road and beg.As per order of Supreme court administration not closed that road or kept more police forces to prevent jawara came on road and beg.I am sure that video is not fake may be some western tourists paid bribes to police and arranged this dancing program.Government of India promise for inquiry.I request to Government please take stick action to those who are guilty and take precaution to preserve heritage of aboriginal custom as it is

from:  Ramesh Raghuvanshi
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 22:45 IST

My question is, why is the television channel questioned for showing the truth. Shame on the administration and the people who forced the inhabitants to dance.

from:  bzach
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 22:40 IST

Why will the TV channels be sued? Its part of investigative journalism - and the TV channels can sue Andaman Govt. back actually. Shame on the administration for all the corruption practices! India has the worst corruption in the whole world and this is not surprising.

from:  CT
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 21:44 IST

Typical Indian attitude!!

from:  veda
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 21:35 IST

If Indian Government or Andaman Nicobar Administration( under the direct control of Home Ministry) can not implement the ruling of Hon'ble Supereme Court of India in Indian territory in 10 long years by citing one or other reasons then one can imagine the pitiable condition of our Judiciary system.

from:  Shankar Rao
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 19:18 IST

Such an inhuman act..! Even the channel persons should have just telecasted that such inhuman event had happened and could left it with out telecasting the video. Yes, i understand that, this became an issue and caught everybody's attention only because of the video. Still they could have shown their dignity..!!

from:  Bhargava Krishna Sajja
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 18:52 IST

There is hardly any point in challaning TV channels. On the contrary they need to be thanked for revealing to the public the crude ways of the tourist operators and the blind way in which the local and central government have reacted to these incursions. So, punish the tourist wallahs and not do anything against TV channels. What should worry more is that the tourist administration of the central government does not have a sense of proportion to arrive at a good judgment. If they were vigilant, we need not have to cut a sorry figure in this issue. What does the concerned minister have to say on this lapse?

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 18:51 IST

Quite hilarious on the Andaman Administration part, that they are suing the TV channels which aired the footage, instead of investigating the authenticity of the video. What a shame !!

from:  Pavan Mankala
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 18:39 IST

Jarawa tribes are happy ( remember, it's the happiness which is the most important thing in life) the way they are. Who are we to pass a judgement on how they should live in this mother earth? They stand to contract all the diseases that the so called modern world have developed, so is better to leave them in isolation with a periodic monitoring of their well being by a special task force well equipped to let them maintain their status quo. That is better for their longevity than anything else. The world outside is by no means any better, with the kind of inequality and poverty around in the world's largest pseudo democracy !!

from:  Suraj Rajachandradev
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 18:35 IST

I would have expected legal action against the policeman, not against the TV channels who aired the clip. An attempt at cover up on the part of the administration?

from:  The Owl
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 18:17 IST

IF Jarawas people want to come to main stream then why all the world is stopping them? I believe that UNESCO and GOI wants Jarawas to stay in their primitive living standards which is highly questionable and wrong also. Each human has a right to live life in whatever way he wants to. GOI should encourage Jarawas to adopt modern life or better livelihood.

from:  Siddhartha
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 18:17 IST

What a shame! People who survived and flourished for 25,000 years in splendid isolation ( that's much longer than any Indian civilization history books taught us in school) are now safari animals. Having lived in the Andamans I know that it is perhaps the most corrupted administration in India. Over the last 20-30 years what was one a tropical paradise with simple people has been is now a exploited commercial and political cow. It's been 10 years since the Supreme court order. No action yet. Money and vote bank rules, eh! Mr. MPs reaction- "the tapes were very old..." Why am I not surprised?

from:  Madan
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 18:03 IST
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