NCST tells YouTube to remove all Jarawa videos; govt body wants no content on Andaman tribe on social media

The National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has asked YouTube to remove all videos related to the Jarawa tribe, reports The Economic Times. The Commission also wants that no content about the Jarawas is posted in the future on any social media website.

The Jarawas are a protected tribal group in the Andamans. Anthropologists believe that the Jarawas are descendants of "some of the first humans to move out of Africa". Since the Grand Trunk Road has cut through the area where the fairly isolated tribe lives, the tribals have been reduced to beggary, often asking for food and money from tourists.

The Economic Times quoted NCST secretary Raghav Chandra as saying that "These videos are posted under tags like 'Jarawa Development' but show them naked or awkward and clumsy.... Posting these videos is akin to outraging their modesty without their knowledge."

The Jarawas have been the subject of exploitation in the past as videos of them being asked to dance in exchange for food have surfaced. In that video females of the tribe — some bare chested, and one naked, trying to cover herself with a polythene bag containing grain — are asked to dance by an off-camera policemen who tells them that he has given them food.

File image of a Jarawa tribeswoman. Reuters

File image of a Jarawa tribeswoman. Reuters

The then Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo had called the incident deplorable and said, "You can not treat human beings like beasts for the sake of money. Whatever kind of tourism is that, I totally disapprove of that and it is being banned also."

Two other videos too were released which showed the exploitation of the Jarawas. The first film, a three minutes and 19 seconds clip, shot on a mobile phone, showed half-naked girls from the tribe dancing before an Indian police officer. A second, shorter clip again focused on a girl's nudity, with men allegedly in military uniform nearby.

After the release of these video, the government had banned all tourist/commercial activities within five kilometres of the reserved area inhabited by aborginal tribes like the Jarawas in the Andamans.

In 2014, there were reports of poachers sexually exploiting Jarawa tribe women in exchange of alcohol and marijuana. Following this, an enquiry was set up by the then Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Ajay Kumar Singh.

Writing for Firstpost in 2014, Jay Mazoomdar had noted that the crimes committed against the Jarawas and the apparent heartlessness of the authorities towards them. He had also noted local MP Bishnu Pada Roy's announcement of plans for widening of the Andaman Trunk Road which passes through Jarawa territory and constructing two new bridges to facilitate more traffic through the Jarawa reserve. He had juxtaposed it with President Pranab Mukherjee's plea to not completely destroy the Jarawas in the the name of so-called development.

With inputs from PTI


Published Date: Jul 07, 2017 09:48 am | Updated Date: Jul 07, 2017 09:48 am