THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | VOL 35 ISSUE 24 |
13 JAN 2012
Jarawa Dance Video
ARMY PERSONNEL INVOLVED
The Jarawa dance video, which created hue and cry in the international and national media and forced the Government of India and Andaman and Nicobar Administration to order a probe, was actually shot by a group of army personnel.
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
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. Middle Strait
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
were able to identify the Jarawa women featuring in the video and the place where it took place. Middle Strait
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
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 Middle Strait 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,
was later picked by the national media and highlighted the plight of the Jarawas. London
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.