VOL: 35 | ISSUE: 23 | FRIDAY | 6 JANUARY 2012
3077 More Persons Died of Tsunami
By Basudev Dass
It is a rule of presumption that in absence of evidence to the contrary, a person shall be taken to be dead, when he has been absent seven years and not heard by them who would naturally have heard of him. Thus read the Section 108 of Indian Evidence Act 1872 [provided that when] the question is whether a man is alive or dead……
3077 persons officially recorded as missing on 26th December 2004 followed by the Tsunami triggered by the massive earthquake on the morning of the day, are liable to be declared as dead when questioned or demanded by the kith or kin of the deceased. They can now proceed with the activities to seek legal rights to meet their social as well as materialistic ends.
Seven years have passed on this day of 26th December 2011. All the 3077 missing persons are dead today. There may be some more persons who might have been washed away unrecorded by the massive tsunami waves that rendered more than 50,000 people of this
Island territory homeless. The sea inundating a large chunk of agricultural land in South Andaman and uprooting the coconut and arecanut trees in Nicobar group of islands completely shattered the livelihood of many.
But what about those who neither went missing nor died but lost everything in the catastrophe and are forced to live as almost dead since last seven years even today! In many of the
Islands in Nicobar group, the tsunami waves might even criss-crossed the land mass but surely went back to sea. But in many part of non-tribal piece of land, the sea water, riding on the tsunami waves, entered to record a permanent occupation encroaching upon 1375.30 hectare of paddy and other field crop-raising land and 806.86 hectare of plantation crop-raising land.
Many of such victims are still fighting to survive with dignity and ease while bureaucrats and politicians are making their hay during such sunshine.
Such people obviously are they or their descendants who actually had caused a metamorphosis of these islands from a bizarre 'Kalapani' to 'Mini India'. They are neither encroachers nor political leaders or bureaucrats, but, common men; who have an ache for the
Islands and the Islanders. They still have the vision to make the Islands a better place to live in and are endowed with resilience to recreate their own environment in a superior way then what existed before the 'Tsunami' hit the Islands.
The statement given by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh "We shall build a 'New Andaman'. Man and Nature will co-exist in perfect harmony in the New Andaman" seems to be a distant dream still today for many tsunami victims in the islands till today. But who are these 'we'? Are they the people of these islands or the politicians and bureaucrats from NCR?