THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | VOL: 35 | ISSUE: 26 | 03 FEBRUARY 2012
Jarawa Video Safari Continues...
The second round of Jarawa video safari has got everything wrong from the word go. The news item states that 'new' videos reveal Indian police role and complacence, and in fact the videos are not date-stamped. How did the videos become new? Was the video shot after the last news report by the Guardian or 'Observer? The news seems to be misleading as it says that 'human safaris' continue with the connivance of police. Nobody will deny that such things have happened in the past. But to suggest by showing old video clips that such safaris are continuing is absolutely misleading.
In fact, everyone knows that there are many videos made during the last one decade. The presentation of news on international as well as national media about Jarawas were always abstract which creates more confusion among the readers and viewers. The means adopted to achieve the end has made a mockery of the whole issue. There has been a long pending Supreme Court Order for closure of two stretches of
Andaman Trunk Road, which passes through Jarawa Reserve. However, the sensationalization has entirely shifted the focus from the main issue. Once a video clip is released, the attention turns towards the particular video and its perpetrators.
Moreover, any decision by the Government of India will be taken after thorough investigations into the allegations. The exaggerated reports cannot stand any investigation as the 'human safaris' does not continue the way depicted in the news. If the NGO was concerned about the Jarawas, it should have taken a holistic view. Instead of focussing on Andaman Trunk Road alone, they should have been advocating the issue of Jarawas at Tirur and Kadamtala too, which is not happening. In fact, Jarawas at Tirur are more vulnerable to outside influence than the Jarawas at
or Andaman Trunk Road. Middle Strait
The issue of closure of Andaman Trunk Road is in Supreme Court of India. Why Survival International is not taking any step to file a contempt of court, if it really thinks that the issue needs to be addressed.
The downside is that Andaman and Nicobar Admn too lacks the will power to even attempt closure of tourism on Andaman Trunk Road. Such a decision would have sent a stern message. Sensitizing the tour operators is another gimmick that is not going to pay off. Complete halt of tourism on ATR will reduce the overall traffic on the road. The road referred as the lifeline can be literally used as a life line - for transportation of goods, public transport vehicles and emergency medical evacuations.
The shadowboxing by Survival International using different platforms including the British Parliament, based on some old videos might do more harm by antagonising local sentiments. Rather than sensationalizing the issue, as the issue is subjudice, its sensible to fight the legal battle and settle the issue, which no one seems to be interested in.