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Thread: Human safaris threaten good old Jarawas in the Andamans

  1. #1
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    Default Human safaris threaten good old Jarawas in the Andamans

    Read some interesting news about Safaris in the Andamans


    Human safaris threaten good old Jarawas in the Andamans
    NEW DELHI: Forget all those wildlife safaris promising glimpses of lions and tigers. Some tour operators in the Andamans are offering more “exotic” fare.

    “Early morning proceed to Baratang Island, it is situated in the northern part of south Andaman. It takes 3 hours journey,” says the website of the Andaman Island Adventure travel company. “In between, you would cross the reserve forest area and if it's your lucky day you may see the old inhabitants of Andamans known as Jarawas.”

    Listed as attraction

    Spotting the Jarawas is listed right alongside other attractions, including limestone caves and a mud-spewing volcano. The entire package costs just Rs. 6,500 a couple.

    Andaman Island Adventure is not the only travel agent in the region which is promoting this kind of human safari for its customers. At least three other companies — Moon Travels, Rhino Jungle Adventures and off-beat Andaman Vacations — all advertise the Jarawas as an attraction in their travel packages.

    Warning

    Off-beat Andaman Vacations, however, does warn that while tourists may see the Jarawas, they are not permitted to interact or take photos of them.

    Four other companies have recently removed such promotional material from their websites, after protests by the international NGO Survival.

    “The Jarawa people lived successfully on their island without contact with outsiders for probably about 55,000 years, until 1998. Today, a road runs right through their forest home, and they risk decimation by disease,” says Survival director Stephen Corry. “They call themselves the Ang, which means ‘human being', yet they are being ogled at like animals in a game reserve.”

    Apart from the insult to human dignity, this kind of tourism puts the community at risk, as the Jarawas are unlikely to have much immunity to common illnesses.

    As recently as last month, the government of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands issued warnings that such tourism is illegal.

    “It has been brought to the notice of the A&N administration that some of the tour operators are promoting tours to the A&N Islands with the inclusion of sightings of, or encounters with, the Jarawa tribe,” said a press release issued in early May. It clarified that the tribal areas of the islands come under the A&N Island (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulations 1956, and reiterated that the Jarawas are not to be promoted as a ‘tourist attraction' under any circumstances, or even be mentioned in promotional material.

    And a paradox

    However, such “tourism” is only possible because a controversial highway now runs through the reserve where the 350-odd Jarawas live on. Paradoxically, the same government which issued the warning also insists on keeping the highway, despite a 2002 Supreme Court ruling which ordered that the Andaman Trunk Road be closed.

    Link - http://www.thehindu.com/2010/06/17/s...1765170100.htm
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    I don't understand this fascination of man chasing man. Often I find there are lot of people in beach looking at each other instead of the setting sun. I am not sure whether any of our jails allow tourists. Else, there can be tourists to look at the people behind bars and make fun of them. May be if tourists are allowed to poke or throw peanuts at the inmates - as tourists do to animals in a zoo - jail tourism can also be a reality.

    Probably, if we can understand this urge or fascination of man to chase man, we can find a solution to the issue of Jarawas.

    Why do we want to bring out the Jarawas from their land?

    These Jarawas have lived in their land, in perfect harmony with nature for thousands of years. They are happy and are doing what they know best. They are self sufficient, and they are free. One should appreciate that for a survival of a species, there has to be freedom and they have live in harmony with nature.

    The Jarawas are better than most of the so called civilised people. They have dignity. Please remember, poor indeed is a man who has lost his dignity. It is unfortunate that the Jarawas are slowly and steadily moving in the direction of being converted into beggars. It all started with the construction of the ATR (Andaman Trunk Road). Like all roads, it cut open a pristine forest. The Government started convoy of vehicles through this road and Jarawas were seen near the road watching it. A contact program was established by leaving food, clothes etc and after sometime the Jarawas probably understood the utility of these and now depend on these.

    Now they have become used to clothing, food etc. Sometime back it was reported that the Jarawas raided a house and carried away rice and other items. Today some of the Jarawas even know a smattering of hindi.

    In a few years time, one natural disease contacted through us, for which they have no natural defensive mechanism, can just wipe them out. Or worse, due to the misguided belief of doing them good, some anthropologists and NGOs will push towards more of contact with the Jarawas and will succeed in assimilating them in the main stream. What will we gain? A few hundred coolies?

    Ofcourse, there are vested interests ready to take over that land, for tourism, for logging, real estate etc.

    If so, why are we waiting? We can act like the Australian Govt. and forcibly remove the Jarawa children and rear them elsewhere. And after 80 odd years, the Govt. can come out with a public apology, making news headlines. Is that what we want?

    It is unfortunate that despite the Supreme Court order banning the road, the Government has chosen to disobey the Hon’ble Supreme Court orders. The convoy is still plying. And can the unscrupulous tour operators be far behind?

    I hope we can allow them to live with their dignities intact, in their own land, protected from outside influence. They have lived many thousands of years in that manner, and can probably survive many thousands of years. Please let them live in peace and with dignity. They don't need any contact, neither with bureaucrats, hoteliers, tourists, NGOs or anthropologists. Please bless them by allowing them to live in peace.

    Sabyasachi

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    Default Editorial in Hindu

    I am happy that The Hindu has raised this issue in its Editorial. Sharing it here.
    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

    What future for Jarawas?

    The human safaris promoted by some tour operators in the Andaman Islands — offering their customers a glimpse of the Jarawa tribal community — are not only an outrageous insult to human dignity. They are also a symptom of the larger problems facing the 300-odd members of this indigenous community. For hundreds of thousands of years, the tribe lived life on its own terms, hunting and gathering food within the boundaries of its pristine forest home. Despite the coming and going of the Europeans and then the settlers from mainland India, the creation of a Reserve in the 1950s, and the construction of the Andamans Trunk Road cutting through their homeland in the 1970s, the Jarawas maintained a hostile distance from outsiders until 1997. Since then, their interactions with settlers and tourists have had a mixed bag of consequences, which include two measles epidemics, and encounters with curious tourists doling out food and snapping photographs. Many NGOs feel the damage can be limited if the government follows the Supreme Court of India's 2002 order to close down the Road. While this could mean a serious inconvenience to a few thousand settlers, the very survival of the indigenous peoples may lie in the balance. In any case, the development of a water transport infrastructure may be better for an island system lying in an earthquake-prone area than a highway. The administration must also intervene actively to protect the Reserve against illegal coastal incursions by poachers and hunters.

    The wider question of what the future of this tribal community should look like — and more importantly, who should determine that future — has few easy answers. In an earlier era, it was simple enough to say that the Jarawas must be left strictly alone, and construct the dubious safety of a Reserve around their lands. But if they foray out of the forests on their own, if they do not want to be left alone, the isolation paradigm holds no relevance any more. However, any attempt to ‘civilise' the Jarawas, or yank them into the modern era, is fraught with danger. Other indigenous tribes on the Islands have already been wiped out, largely due to diseases caught from outsiders. This year has already seen the death of the last Great Andamanese speakers of the Bo and Khora tribal languages. The tribes who remain, including the Jarawa, hover on the brink of extinction. A dossier on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands released by UNESCO last month suggests that self-determination by the Jarawas must be the ultimate aim, “to help them negotiate with a rapidly changing, predatory world that exists around them.” This is a world that has tourists ogling at them as if they were on a wildlife sanctuary.

    The source article can be found here: http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/21/stor...2152701000.htm

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    Some good news. Sharing a press release issued by Survival International.
    Mrudul

    Andaman tour company ends human safaris


    Following Survival International’s condemnation yesterday of human safaris to the Jarawa tribe on the Andaman Islands, the company Andaman Island Adventure has said it will stop promoting the tours.

    The company was one of four highlighted by Survival for promoting illegal visits to, or sightings of, the Jarawa. It appears to have removed the relevant page from its website.

    Three other companies, Explore Andaman with Kariappa, Rhino Jungle Adventures and Offbeat Andaman Vacations, promote the tours online.

    Many more companies sell such tours from their shops in the Andaman Islands.

    The Indian government issued a public warning to tour operators after Survival alerted it to the safaris.

    Link - http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/6105
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Some more update about the Jarawa tribe. The MP wants the children to be modernised. Keen to know your views.

    Modern or museum piece row
    CITHARA PAUL

    New Delhi, July 1: The Andamans’ lone MP has stirred controversy by demanding that Jarawa children be brought to “mainstream” schools and introduced to TV and cars instead of being treated as “museum pieces’’.

    Bishnu Pada Ray has written to the Union tribal ministry to drop its “isolationist” policy and “wean” Jarawa children away from the tribe to “drastically mainstream” them. Else, the tribe, whose population is now around 300, will become extinct, he says.

    “What right do we have to say the Jarawas should be kept as museum pieces? Who are we to say they should not be educated… because they will lose their indigenous character? Like each one of us, they too have the right to the fruits of modernity,” Ray told The Telegraph.

    Ray wants Jarawa children aged 6-12 to be “kept in a normal school atmosphere”, where they will be “trained in personal hygiene, use of clothes and basic reading and writing skills” and exposed to mainstream eating habits.

    He has cited the examples of the Birhore and Sabar tribals of Jharkhand, whose children have been “modernised’’.

    “Over time, the trainers were able to infiltrate into the main pockets of tribes and inculcate skills of personal hygiene, wearing of clothes… partaking of cooked food and basic agricultural and horticultural activities. The final result was training the entire population into a village identical with any other village of Scheduled Tribe population,’’ his letter says.

    It adds that the Jarawas’ numbers have been dwindling every year because they use polluted water and follow unhygienic practices.

    Ray’s demand has invited criticism from tribal activists, who say similar schemes in the US, Canada and Australia have proved disastrous. “Thousands of indigenous people across the globe had been left traumatised by this modernisation process. Who are we to decide what modernity is? This proposal will spell doom for the Jarawas,’’ said activist Gourav Adivesh.

    International tribal activists too have hit out at Ray’s suggestions. “If the government takes their children away and puts them in a school, they will lose their culture. If they are made to live in a town, it would be a crime,” said a Yanomami leader from Brazil, Davi Kopenawa Yanomami.

    “These scandalous proposals are contemptuous both of indigenous peoples’ rights and the UN’s standards for their protection. Attempts to force the Jarawas to abandon their way of life will simply destroy them,’’ said Survival International’s director, Stephen Corry.

    Link - http://www.telegraphindia.com/110070...y_12637160.jsp
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Default The Member of Parliament's views

    Dear All,
    This article had appeared in Andaman Chronicle. The Member of Parliament of Andaman is in news again with his unfortunate views on the Jarawas.
    Sabyasachi

    Ray On Jarawa Issue
    Written by Administrator
    Aug 02, 2010 at 09:42 PM

    The Government & Ministry of Tribal and Home Affairs Has No Logic, They Just Decide on Their Own: Member of Parliament

    Port Blair, Aug. 2: Briefing the media about the discussions and decisions taken by the standing committee of the island development authority in its meeting held on 26th July 2010 at New Delhi, the Member of Parliament Shri Bishnu Pada Ray said, “The government and the Ministry of Tribal and Home Affairs have no logic. They just decide everything on their own”.

    “They have decided in a meeting held on August 2009 that the Andaman Trunk Road will be closed for tourists in view of the Jarawa. They decided this without consulting with anybody. The government has decided that the tourists should go through sea route for which WAPCOS has been given the assignment to study and submit report”.

    “I have strong objections to this which I raised during the meeting of the standing committee. There are 7 meters high waves in the islands for nearly 6 months and it is impossible for people to travel by sea during this time. Even the Administration is of my view that the ATR should be open if we need to have connectivity with the north and also because of security reasons”, Ray said.

    “The Buffer Zone was declared in the year 2007 by the Andaman & Nicobar Administration. This was done to increase the Jarawa resources and to see to it that no one disturbs them. I am surprised that there was no consultation done before such decisions were taken”.
    “As a result of the decision to implement Buffer Zone 31 villages will be affected around the Jarawa reserve which means a total of 21,000 people just for the sake of 365 Jarawas. These villages include the pre 1942 villages and the settlement villages like Collinpur, Mahuadera, Tushnabad etc.”, commented the MP.

    “According to reports, in 1888 the Jarawa population was 1250. In 1931 it was just 70, in 1951 – 50, 1961- 500, 1981 – 200, 2001 – 241 and in 2010 it is 365. Does anyone think how the Jarawa population has reduce so much?”

    “In 1999 there was an attack of measles among the Jarawa and 74 Jarawa had died. It is only after 1950’s that we came in touch with them and there was no such epidemic. What then happened in 1999?”

    “The answer is that the Jarawa have malaria both positive and negative. They have pneumonia, measles, skin diseases,
    viral infections, mums, stomach infections and are also malnourished. Moreover why do people not think as to why the Jarawa come to the settler villages”.

    “Is it logic to reserve 4 square kilometer of forest land for a single Jarawa?” the Member of Parliament said.

    “I strongly suggest that the Buffer Zone is lifted. Else thousands of villagers will have to be evicted. Moreover I also strongly suggest that the Jarawa are made literate by admitting them to Ashram Schools, where they can learn our ways and also theirs”, he said.

    Giving examples of other tribes of the islands, the MP said, “We can learn from the Great Andamanese tribe. Some children have joined the Industrial Training Institute and are studying well. See the Nicobarese. They are doing so well and excel in so many fields”.

    “While we should think on educating the Jarawa, I also strongly feel that the Administration should decide for a special package for the pre-1942 settlers and the settlers brought by the government. They have been living in the islands for so long and their requirement of forest should also be met. These people should be allowed to hunt deers, wild bores, fish and extract forest produce from certain earmarked forest areas, as they have been used to all these for years”.

    “If you tell a Bengali not to eat fish, can they agree”, Ray asked.

    “If this is not possible then how can you dictate to the old settlers for whom deer, wild bore, fish etc. have been a staple food for years together”.

    “We should therefore think a bit logically. Jarawa is our dharowar. I expect that the government will not yield to international pressures on the Jarawa issue as they know little about our tribe and the isalnds’ situation”, added the Member of Parliament Shri Bishnu Pada Ray.


    The original article can be found here:
    http://andamanchronicle.com/content/view/2732/27/

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    Default NAC wants to contact Jarawas to ask them about their future

    In a shocking move, the National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Smt. Sonia Gandhi has asked the Ministry of Tribal Welfare to contact Jarawas and seek their views before deciding on their future. Sharing a news article published in Hindu on this issue.

    Sabyasachi

    Consult Jarawas on their future, NAC tells Ministry

    SMITA GUPTA

    Whether they should live in isolation, or mingle with local population

    The National Advisory Council (NAC) on Wednesday asked the Tribal Affairs Ministry to consult the Jarawas, a primitive tribal group in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands who are threatened with extinction, before drafting a policy on their future — whether they should continue to live in their pristine habitat, in splendid isolation, or be allowed to mingle with the local population, the Council sources told The Hindu.

    This follows concern in the NAC following a recommendation made by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration that as the Jarawas have already begun mingling with the local population, the policy of isolation should end. Earlier in the year, the NAC itself had sent an official to the island to check whether the Jarawas were being adversely affected by the droves of tourists who arrive here — there have also been fears of exploitation, including sexual exploitation — of the Jarawas.

    On Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi, who heads the NAC and has a special interest in the welfare of the Jarawas, wanted a full-fledged discussion on the issue. So, Lieutenant Governor of the Islands, Lt.Gen. (retd.) Bhopinder Singh, made a presentation on the Jarawa policy adopted by the government in 2004 and the current status of the threatened tribal group.

    Arvind Chugh, Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, followed it up with another presentation, as the policy is currently being reviewed by a sub-group of an Expert Committee that he heads, and which is expected to submit its recommendations within three months.

    The Ministry has now been told that it must consult the Jarawas on their future before finalising their recommendations. The Andaman and Nicobar Aadam Jaati Samaj, a government organisation that works among the primitive tribal groups, also should be involved.

    Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh and Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed, who as members of the NAC, had jointly prepared a report on the Jarawas a few years ago, were also invited to Wednesday's deliberations. Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and Chief Secretary of Andaman and Nicobar Shakti Sinha were also present.

    The source article can be found here: http://www.thehindu.com/news/nationa...cle2126716.ece

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    Default ToI reports that Sonia favours leaving Jarawas untouched

    A Times of India report is at variance with the Hindu's version of the National Advisory Council (NAC) meeting. The Times of India reports that Sonia favours leaving the Jarawas untouched. The Times of India report is shared below.

    The press release issued by the National Advisory Committee is cryptic and says " The Policy is presently being reviewed by a Sub-Committee of an Expert Committee headed by Secretary, Tribal Affairs, Government of India, which is expected to give it’s recommendations within 3 months". The press release can be found here: http://nac.nic.in/press_releases/22_june_2011.pdf

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi



    Sonia favours leaving Jarawas untouched
    TNN Jun 23, 2011, 05.28am IST
    Sonia Gandhi

    NEW DELHI: The debate on changes on Jarawa Policy – their development versus preserving their traditional lifestyle – got special attention at the National Advisory Council meeting on Wednesday following chairperson Sonia Gandhi's intervention. The Congress president weighed heavily on the side of maintaining the protected regime for the indigenous Andaman and Nicobar Islands tribe.

    The government has been toying with the idea of bringing 'development' to the community which has long been kept protected from amalgamation into the islands' mainstream. The proposal is being reviewed by an expert committee headed by the tribal affairs secretary.

    The island administration had mooted that the aboriginal group should be assimilated into the mainstream of society and should be provided development rights like education and health.

    But the council favoured maintaining status quo. Many members on board the UPA think tank pointed out that the debate had been settled long ago and there was no model available to show how assimilation had helped any 'pre-modern' society around the world.

    The Andaman Trunk Road has become the iconic front of the debate with the island administration refusing to shut it down despite court orders dating back nearly a decade. The island administration had filed a petition against the closing of the road with Supreme Court which has not been heard as yet but the government has, using the pending case as a ploy, not shut down the road that cuts through the heart of Jarawa lands.

    The road issue cropped up prominently at the meeting where the L-G for the islands Lt Gen Bhopinder Singh made a presentation followed by another by the secretary tribal affairs. The meeting was attended by Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed who also strongly opposed any plans of exposing Jarawas to modern lifestyles. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh recommended that Jarawas should not be looked at in isolation and the development of all communities on the islands should be considered collectively.

    The source article can be found here: Sonia favours leaving Jarawas untouched - Times Of India

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    Default Supreme Court bans use of road in tribal area of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

    A good decision from the Supreme court, I hope this would help solve some problems for the Jarawa tribes...

    Supreme Court bans tourists from taking trunk road passing through Jarawa area in Andamans

    J. VENKATESAN NEW DELHI, January 21, 2013


    The Supreme Court on Monday banned tourists from taking the Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road that passes through the area where the Jarawas live. The road is used to reach the Limestone Cave.

    The court has already banned all commercial and tourism activities within a five-km radius of the Jarawa Tribal Reserve on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

    A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Gokhale passed the order, taking on record the Andaman and Nicobar Administration’s January 17 notification to comply with the court directives issued last year.

    Except 30 villages notified in the schedule, the notification declares a buffer zone of an area up to a five-km radius, adjacent and contiguous to the Jarawa Tribal Reserve Area — starting from the Constance Bay in South Andaman to Lewis Inlet Bay in Middle Andaman. No person shall operate any commercial or tourist establishment directly or indirectly in the buffer zone. Furthermore, no one shall carry out any activity, which may be prejudicial to the safety, security and interests of the Jarawas in any of the settlement villages.

    The Bench directed that only government officials, persons residing in the reserve and vehicles carrying essential commodities for the Jarawas would be allowed on the Trunk Road.

    Justice Singhvi told counsel, “You provide helicopter service to… tourists to reach the cave as there is a total ban in the buffer area.”

    “File affidavit”

    The Bench directed the Andaman and Nicobar Administration to file an affidavit, along with a detailed map indicating the areas of Jarawas and settlement of others. It posted the matter for further hearing on February 26.

    The October 30, 2007 notification, imposing the ban, was quashed by the Calcutta High Court.

    On an appeal, the Supreme Court, stayed the order and asked the administration to strictly enforce the notification till it was considered by the court. This was followed by the January 17 notification.

    Keywords: Jarawa tribe, Andaman Trunk Road, tribal rights, human safaris, Jarawa tribe video.
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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