Monday, January 16, 2012

COVER STORY: Jarawa Dance Video: ARMY PERSONNEL INVOLVED

THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | VOL 35 ISSUE 24 | 13 JAN 2012

COVER STORY
Jarawa Dance Video
ARMY PERSONNEL INVOLVED

By Zubair Ahmed


In an independent investigation by LOA, it has come to the fore that police and ground staff of Andaman Aadim Janjathi Vikas Samithi (AAJVS) were not aware as the video was shot after the last convoy left Middle Strait.
Contrary to the statements released to the media by the Administration, the video was shot three years back on 6th  November 2008, in which two vehicles - a truck and a gypsy belonging to army were involved. In a release, S B Deol, DGP had said that the video was 10 years old and there were no cop in the video. He had also pointed out that a man with camouflaged uniform was visible in the media. However, he did not mention anyrole of defence personnel.
LOA has identified the Jarawa women and girls featuring in the video, which was shot at a place about 8 kms from Jirkatang, known as Chowdhary Gumai. There were six Jarawa women including a pregnant lady, who was shown fully naked. Thadul (16 years) daughter of Thadang, Ecnchobecha (14) d/o Thadang, Cheddatokula (35) wife of Whaydom and Aninja (13) d/o Whaydom featured in the video. Enepowaiele (21) w/o Mahe was 7-8 months pregnant when the video was shot. She gave birth to a baby girl Wane on 6 February 2009.
The army personnel traveling in a military truck had waited for the last convoy to pass from Middle Strait and with special permission traveled on the road. It has also come to light that Jarawas mostly belonging to Tirur sector has a Chadda (Jarawa Hut) very close to the place.
Jarawas, still a nomadic community travel from Tirur to Kadamtala and back frequently. They use the temporary chaddas on the way.
The Jarawas in Kadamtala and Middle Strait were able to identify the Jarawa women featuring in the video and the place where it took place.
Enepowaiele, the pregnant woman in the video, who is 24 years now has confirmed to a reliable source about the incident and involvement of army personnel.
However, this does not vindicate the police force present at Middle Strait who allowed the military truck to pass after the last convoy had departed from Middle Strait. The thumb rule is not to allow anybody except AAJVS, Police and Forest personnel dealing with the protection and welfare of Jarawas of specific territorial jurisdiction. This raises a serious question how army personnel, who were on a tour to Baratang could stop inside the Reserve and shoot the video exploiting the vulnerability of a tribe who are at crossroads, unaware of the dangers it poses to their life and culture.
The story about the video published by The Guardian/Observer, London was later picked by the national media and highlighted the plight of the Jarawas.
Soon after the expose by news channels, Shakti Sinha, Chief Secretary, ANI Admn had rebutted the episode saying that over the past decade, the population of the Jarawas has increased for the first time since they first came into contact with the outside world 150 years ago.  He also said that a Tribal Reserve has been increased from 847 sq kms to 1028 sq kms.
Speaking to a news channel, Prof Shekhar Singh said that the Lieutenant Governor and the Administration should be put on dock on the issue of contempt of court as the Administration has kept the Andaman Trunk Road open even after the Supreme Court's Order of May 2002.
The issue has also created a ruckus among the politicians and the settler communities who blamed foul play in the timing of the video saying that it was intentionally done to close Andaman Trunk Road, which they claim to be a lifeline.

7 comments:

doctornature said...

Sir,
This is just one incident which has come to the limelight, I am sure there will be many more footage's. The Violations are usually from the Honorable and VIP Guests who have special protections and do not use convoy. The Exemplary punishment are for the normal citizen so that the Admn can show case.

It is very difficult to shoot when one travel in a convoy, hence all including Honorables must adhere to the convoy system, with exceptions in emergent cases.
The Tourist should not be allowed in Tourist Cars/ jeep etc instead they shall be permitted in Buses in the convoy System. The Islanders using own car or a contract carriage may be permitted if they poses the Local ID proof, as of now all Islanders have ID Cards or atleast a Ration Card. The ANIDCO Run Bus services should be incresed so that tourist can use it.
Random Checking of mobile / Video camera footage's should be made, so that there is a sense of fear of Law.
The option for sea route for tourist upto Baratang has to be explored in the long run to decongest vehicles in ATR, this will help to reduce Jarawa contact with Tourist. For the Islanders the Jarawas are a common phenomenon, hence we are no more anxious to have a glimpse and have minimal interaction, because we know our limitations and ATRs importance in every day life.

DEBKUMAR BHADRA said...

Whatever has happened is a criminal tresspass; breach of law. This could have been avoided had the convoy system been adhered to. Those behind this misdeed should be punished.

nimmie said...

doctornature has said very well.I feel ATR should be closed and water transport has to be encouraged.May be faster boats. But there is no shortcut to closing ATR. Second ,prevent tourism for about a decade and allow the island to recoup itself. Third prevent Havelock from becoming a international massage parlour like Thailand. Four, Neil islands and other such places have be immediately banned from tourism.Five no more resorts and hotels in any part of Andaman.The water scarcity in one of the highest rainfall areas in the country is a sad reflection of the so called development

Kalapani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Khaliquzzaman said...

Only cargo trucks should be allowed on atr from mile tilak to rangat. For passangers speed boats and vehcle ferry should be provided.SERIOUS patients may be allowed on atr.

aroonkamath said...

Government MUST find out the names of all the VIPs who had visited the islands unofficially....

NITESH RAO's Blog to help and pray the Japanese said...

A nice piece of article..Well written and executed.