The Supreme Court ban on tourists taking the Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road that passes through the area in which the Jarawas live (Jan. 22) is welcome. It will safeguard the dignity of the Jarawas. Commercialisation has taken the world hostage — even god has not been spared. Conducting safaris to see fellow human beings as though they are animals in a zoo is shameful.
In the name of civilising people, let us not pollute the indigenous tribe.
T. Anand Raj,
The ATR cuts through South Andaman, where the Jarawa reserve is located, linking Port Blair with Diglipur in North Andaman. The road brings the Jarawas into regular contact with settlers and tourists who treat them like animals in a safari. Poachers enter their forests, exploit the tribe and hunt the animals it is dependent on.
It would be relevant to quote Dr. R.K. Bhattacharya, former Director of the Anthropological Survey of India, from a report that was submitted to the Calcutta High Court in 2004: “ATR is like a public thoroughfare through a private courtyard … Closure of the ATR would perhaps be the first gesture of goodwill on [the] part of the dominant towards an acutely marginalised group almost on the verge of extinction”.
Madan Menon Thottasseri,
I have seen tourists giving food and clothes to the Jarawas and even making lewd comments on their appearance. The Supreme Court order will not only bring to an end acts which harm nature but will also reinforce the state’s priority of safeguarding the indigenous tribes.
The court order is a huge setback to local residents. For the residents of middle and south Andaman, the only road connectivity is through the Jarawa area. A clear distinction must be made between tourist and non-tourist transport.