Sexual exploitation of the Jarawa and persecution of journalist who exposed it
Denis Giles of The Andaman Chronicles had, on the 1st of February broken news of shocking sexual exploitation of the Jarawa in the Andaman Islands by outsiders and fishermen. While the sexual exploitation of the Jarawa is nothing new, this time it was a Jarawa man on tape describing the suffering of the Jarawa girls at the hands of intoxicated local poachers and fishermen who violate them and their homes.
The vulnerability of the Jarawa is stark as he knows and names the villains from Junglighat, Wandoor, Herbertabad and Tirur. He accuses them of introducing alcohol and drugs among the Jarawa, chasing Jarawa girls under the influence of alcohol and ganja (marijuana) and sleeping in their huts. They torture the girls.
In the audio clip, the Jarawa man says that poachers regularly visits the Reserve and in the influence of alcohol and ganja chase and hurt the girls and sleep with them in the Jarawa Chadda (hut). He also complains that the girls are physically tortured.
He names almost 20 poachers. They are Chotu, Lamba ka Ladka, Bablu, Sujoy, Deva s/o Neelu, Raja alias Tapas (man with moustache), Haran, Natia, Kishore from Tirur area. Udu (short statured ‘Nata’), Sameer, Pintu, Nitai from Guptapara area. Robin, Neen ka Ladka Mandal, Lalu, Ada ka Bhai rom Wandoor and Thata Rao, his father and other persons in his group from Junglighat, Port Blair.
Poachers trade with the Jarawa and arrests for entering the reserve mean little as they come out on bail and continue. Sexual exploitation is not proved as Jarawa girls won’t testify against poachers in court.
Last month on 16th and 17th two teams of poachers were apprehended by a Joint team of AAJVS, Police and Forest from Jarawa Tribal Reserve in the West Coast and Hiren Tikrey. The poachers had taken about 8 Jarawa girls along with them. One of the team stayed in the Reserve for three days along with the girls. The girls were rescued and brought back and all the poachers were arrested under various sections of ANPATR and SC/ST POA Act.
In another incident, a local poacher Nitai Mondal, resident of Guptapara whose name repeatedly appears in the audio clip, went to Chotagoja Jarawa Camp, a Jarawa Reserve on the West Coast on 3rd November with ration articles – rice, vegetable oil, sugar and tea and camped with a group of Jarawas.
On the next day he took two Jarawas – Dawa and Lekhte to Bambu Nallah, where other Jarawas were camping. He stayed with them for a day and later took 5 Jarawas – Anijamu (43), Illy (25), Anjale (27), Achehane (25), and Tahe (22) to Tarmugli Island. Nitai Mondal, who is a habitual offender, is already booked in two cases of exploitation of Jarawas. But, he too was let off on bail.
From the transcript of the audio clip of the Jarawa man
The girls say…
The outsider (in’en) boys press them… lots.
They press them using hands and nails, when the girls get angry.
They chase them under the influence of alcohol, the girls…
They do (yoha) sex (pelta) with the girls.
All the girls, (and he names around 10 girls)
Sujoy and Chotu come to the girls
and Bablu and Nitai and another one Kaushik…
they drink alcohol in the house of girls.
They also sleep in Jarawa’s house (Chadda).
They chase the girls after smoking Ganja (Marijuana). smoking Ganja…
All the outside boys… the boys I named earlier.
Sujoy and one Chotu and one Kaushik and one old man from Guptapara, Nitai and one Sameer and I missed one outsider, no two outsiders… There are two more … That Mamu from Guptapara… there is a boy you know… his name is Mamu… He is known as Mamu… he is also there…
There are increasing conflicts between the Jarawa and the surrounding areas due insensitive violations of their reserve and exploitation of their women. Video clips of the naked Jarawa women made to dance for food by tour operators have been exposed before.
The strange thing is that when the UK news covers it, like the Guardian expose, our media latches on to it. When a local Andaman paper breaks the story, there is no hope of backup from Indian media. Or perhaps naked women dancing sell better even if blurred than men reporting serious wrongs, but no eye candy for our “sex sells” media?
This is fairly shocking, but what is more bizarre is that the police have filed six notices against Denis who broke the story.
And this still is not National News.
So now one has to wonder why.