Jarawas are treated like animals: UK reporter; Ensure non-intervention & restriction of tourist reach to the niche of endangered tribe: The Human Rescue Team

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From: ashu kumar <aiims.ashu@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 8:23 PM
Subject: Jarawas are treated like animals: UK reporter; Ensure non-intervention & restriction of tourist reach to the niche of endangered tribe: The Human Rescue Team
To: “goi dr manmohan singh, Prime Minister of India” <manmohan@sansad.nic.in>, covdnhrc <covdnhrc@hub.nic.in>, dg-nhrc <dg-nhrc@nic.in>, sgnhrc <sgnhrc@nic.in>, NCPRI India <ncpri.india@gmail.com>, vpindia@nic.inspeakerloksabha@sansad.nic.inchairperson@nac.nic.in, supremecourt <supremecourt@nic.in>, goi cji sc of India <supremecourt@hub.nic.in>

Jarawas are treated like animals: UK reporter

Rajdeep Sardesai

New Delhi: A British newspaper, The Observer, has set off a storm after releasing a video which shows members of the protected Jarawa tribe dancing for tourists in the Andaman Islands.


According to the report, the video was shot during the course of a human safari, in the protected tribal reserve. It claims a policeman was bribed 200 pounds and he instructed the tribal women to dance.


IBN-18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai spoke to The Observer reporter Gethin Chamberlain, who released the video.


Rajdeep Sardesai: Mr Chamberlain how do you respond to the response of the government authorities that the video being shown is 10 years old and is being circulated only to sensationalise and lower the dignity of the Jarawa tribe?


Gethin Chamberlain: As far as this video is concerned, it is very recent. It is one of the videos that are circulating amongst the tour operators in Port Blair. Many of the videos have been shot more recently than what the administration is saying. It is shot through cameraphones, that itself gives an indication how recent it is. As far as lowering the dignity of tribe is concerned, it is done by tour operators and corrupt officials who treat Jarawa tribe people like animals.


Rajdeep Sardesai: What the local authorities are saying is that the videographer was inciting the tribal women to dance with an attempt to sensationalise the whole thing.


Gethin Chamberlain: That video reflects what your find is going on quite a lot. I went there and spent some days in Andamans. It is very easy to find a tour operator in Andamans that will tell you how much you need to pay. They will bribe and fix up these meetings. This is not something that happened a long time ago and is still happening. I do not understand the response from the authorities that they had disciplined the authorities last summer, for allowing something similar, for allowing contact between Jarawa and outside world. Saying that this is not happening is ridiculous


Rajdeep Sardesai: There is also the criticism that the NGO Survival has been collecting large amounts of donations from across the world in the name of protecting the tribes.


Gethin Chamberlain: Frankly, I think that authorities should look into their backyard and figure out what the problem is. If they turn up with convoy of 130-140 cars and buses and go the Jarawa tribe. Most of people there are just to see the Jarawa tribe. They are a tourist attraction there. That is not a way to treat people who are citizens of India. They have rights like everyone else.


Rajdeep Sardesai: What you are saying is that the human safari is rampant and continuing?


Gethin Chamberlain: It is rampant, it is continuing. I witnessed it personally by going to one of the safaris, the tour operators offering bribe to the police authorities to fix up a meeting, a driver being provided who said its ok, whenever you get a chance take pictures of Jarawa, and then Jarawa coming close to car, begging for money because that is what they are used to. This is going on and it is not good enough for authorities to turn around and throw accusations. They are embarrassed about what has happened and do not want to admit it


Rajdeep Sardesai: What you are saying is that the entire system is involved, right from the local policeman to the higher authorities in the territory


Gethin Chamberlain: I just want to make one thing clear. I am not saying that all the police officers in Andaman are corrupt. A lot of people are doing very good work and trying to protect these people. If you go to a safari, there are police officers who are moving people that is good, but there are people who are using Jarawa as someone from where they can make money. The authorities should crack down on such people and criticising people who are publicising it.


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