Andaman police seeks NTRO help in Jarawas case

Port Blair/New Delhi: Andaman and Nicobar Police have approached the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), which deals with cyber intelligence, for detecting the computer from where the controversial footage showing semi-naked Jarawa tribal women originated.

With clear directions from the Union Home Ministry to nail the culprits behind the videography of the Jarawa tribal, the police sought help of the NTRO in establishing the source computer from where it was uploaded so that legal action could be initiated in the case.

Under the Protection of Aboriginal Tribes (PAT) Act, taking pictures or video shooting of tribals is banned. The police was also trying to identify the voice of a purported travel agent whose telephone conversation with a British journalist has been uploaded. This also, according to officials of the union territory, seems to be a design of some vested interests to prevent building a road within the jungles of South Andaman.

The Centre has already cleared Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) to connect the Northern part of the island with the southern part. Some portion of the road passes through the jungles of South Andaman where 383-member Jarwa tribe was located. The officials reasoned that while utmost care was taken in preserving the geography and jungles but the road was a necessity to connect lakhs of people in Andaman who used to face acute shortage of food supplies during the time when the sea was rough. .

Andaman Police registered a case on January 12 against unknown persons in connection with the shooting and uploading of a video under the Indian Penal Code, Information and Technology Act, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes and Protection of Aboriginal Tribes. Andaman and Nicobar Police have formed a special team led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police which will seek help of cyber cell of central agencies in cracking the computer from where it has been hosted.

The issue had sparked controversy when London-based newspaper "Observor" reported the alleged incident and also uploaded a video. In its preliminary report, the administration said it will initiate prosecution against the videographer involved in the coverage for a British newspaper for "inciting" the tribal to dance in front of tourists.

Police had also asked London-based daily "The Observer", which claimed in its report that a policeman had taken bribe to make the tribal, especially women, dance naked, has also been asked to apologise to the local police. The newspaper, the statement said, was also asked to name the videographer so that legal action could be initiated against him for recording and releasing the video thereby lowering the dignity of the members of Jarawa tribe.