New Delhi, Jan 12: While the union tribal affairs minister called the Andaman video of the endangered Jarawa members being used for tourist entertainment a disgraceful incident, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said he has ordered arrest of the videographer and the tour operator concerned.
Speaking to IBNS, Union Tribal Affairs Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo said he is going to Andaman himself to take stock of the situation first hand. "It is disgraceful and shameful. I will get a feedback first hand," he said.
He also assured to look into the demand for closure of the Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) for protection of the few surviving people of the tribe who get exposed there to outsiders. Home Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday told a press conference: "Whatever policy has been adopted by Andaman is in place, I think what happened is violation of that policy."He said the video in which Jarawa women were shown made to dance before tourists "was [shot] about three and four years ago." "We are looking for the videographer, the tour operator. We have ordered to apprehend the videographer and tour operator concerned and interrogate them," he said.
Earlier, British journalist Gethin Chamberlain, whose story on Andaman's endangered Jarawa tribe being used to entertain tourists created the outcry, said he procured the video showing them dancing from local tour operators. "The video is circulating among tour operators. I'm told it was shot in recent years, though we don't have an exact date. "The police claims that it is 10 years old are pure guesswork and it is clearly much fresher than that. From the nature of the file, it appears to have been shot on a mobile phone, which brings it closer to the present," Gethin Chamberlain told IBNS.
The shocking video of the endangered Andaman tribal people, including their women folks who live uncovered waist up, dancing to entertain tourists published by the British newspapers The Observer and The Guardian has created a controversy with the authorities in the archipelago coming under attack from all quarters now. The Jarawas are now a little over 400 in number living in South Andamans.
According to Survival International, the principal threat to the Jarawa’s existence comes from encroachment onto their land, which was sparked by the building of a highway (ATR) through their forest in the 1970s. "The road brings settlers, poachers and loggers into the heart of their land. This encroachment risks exposing the Jarawa to diseases to which they have no immunity, and creating a dependency on outsiders. Poachers steal the game the Jarawa rely on, and there are reports of sexual exploitation of Jarawa women," it said. "Tourism is also a threat to the Jarawa, with tour operators driving tourists along the road through the reserve every day in the hope of ‘spotting’ members of the tribe. Despite prohibitions, tourists often stop to make contact with the Jarawa," it said.