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Saturday, December 1, 2018

privacy of serene Sentinels compromised ~ man enters to preach, gets killed !!

A 27 year old John Chau took a boat ride to an  Indian island – was killed with arrows !  before you comment anything – read this perspective – then proceed !!

Globally and more specifically in United States, privacy laws are pronounced. They  deal with several different legal concepts. One is the invasion of privacy, a tort based in common law allowing an aggrieved party to bring a lawsuit against an individual who unlawfully intrudes into his or her private affairs, discloses his or her private information, publicizes him or her in a false light, or appropriates his or her name for personal gain. Public figures have less privacy, and this is an evolving area of law as it relates to the media.  One can shout a comment before Virat Kohli that he thinks Aussie players are better and if Kohli responds, he is termed arrogant !!   The essence of privacy  law derives from a right to privacy, defined broadly as "the right to be let alone."

In the late 1800s, colonial exhibits became popular in the western world — exhibits that not only showcased artefacts but actual people. In the era before cinema, these shows allowed westerners to see the foreigners they’d only heard of, and led to huge audiences clamouring for these tableaux vivants.  Such inhuman acts of parading humans chained or as exhibits in enclosure  were called ‘human zoos’- what a shame !!  In the late 1800s, France had an agricultural site  (Jardin tropical) devoted to the cultivation of plants from the country’s vast empire, showcasing Madagascar, Indochine, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco. In 1907, the garden’s fare became part of the Paris Colonial Exposition, and hosted recreated indigenous villages from the colonies to represent what life was like there. Such recreations might have been innocuous, were it not for the display of live human beings. Each village was populated with colonial subjects who’d been engaged as performers, yet were little more than exhibits themselves. Just see below this atrocious picture of German zoologist Professor Lutz Heck  with an elephant and an African family he brought to the Berlin Zoo, in Germany in 1931.

In the far off islands in Andamans in India, - "Jarawa!" the cry would go  up from the front of the bus and, in an instant, the tourists would spring  on their feet, craning their necks to see a small boy clutching a short spear.  That was another human exhibition ! ~ that tribal boy would stand on the edge of the jungle, watching the convoy of vehicles thunder past on the Andaman trunk road. The tourists lurch towards the sides  of the vehicle to catch one last glimpse of him and then the tourist vehicle passes by – nothing different than the bear show at Banergatta in Bangalore, where a sloth bear would come closer to the closed vehicle in the safari.  Then there were videos circulating showing foreigners throwing chocolates, and capturing young tribal women dancing ! that was no tourism but rich dawdy foreigners  paying to catch glimpse of  the dwindling tribe's jungle reserve.  In 2013 or so, the Supreme Court banned   tourists from using the Andaman-Nicobar Trunk road, which cuts through a tribal reserve area in the Andaman and Nicobar islands where the endangered Jarawa tribals live.

The Supreme Court banned all commercial and tourism activities within a five-kilometre radius around the Jarawa Tribal Reserve in the islands.  Humans are different and many a times act inhumanely .. .. a controversial US huntress  sparked fury by posing next to a sheep she has just killed and holding up a blood-covered sex toy in a shocking photo. Larysa Switlyk, a TV host caused outrage by taking selfies with dead goats during a hunting trip in Scotland earlier this year, smiles as she holds aloft the rubber fist while kneeling over the body of a freshly-killed male soay sheep.  What is great about killing goats, deers or even lions or tigers with automated weapons .. .. is this a game or a fight ! mere ghastly killing ..

Now read the story of Americal John Chau !!  -  MailOnline and other media report that the American missionary believed God had 'called' him to convert tribe that shot him dead with arrows and spent years planning to get to their remote island as Indian police work out how to retrieve body  !!   Chau had taken  a boat ride with local fishermen before venturing to the island alone.  John Allen Chau, 27,  on a mission to convert tribals to Christianity paid local fishermen to help him get to North Sentinel Island, one of the world's most isolated regions in India's Andaman islands.  Chau took a boat ride with the fishermen before venturing alone in a canoe to where the indigenous people live cut off completely from the outside world, authorities said.  He was killed by  a flurry of arrows. Daily Mail reports that Indian police said a murder case had been registered against 'unknown tribesmen' and seven people - the fishermen who took him to the island - have been arrested in connection with the death.

However, the Tribals are not at fault – the Sentinelese who killed Chau can't be prosecuted as contact with them and several tribes on the islands is illegal in a bid to protect their indigenous way of life and shield them from diseases.  The report further states that   Chau was 'committed' to travelling to the remote island, deep in the Indian Ocean, to preach Christianity to the tribesmen and had been planning the trip for at least three years. The Sentinelese attracted international attention in the wake of the 2004 Asian tsunami, when a member of the tribe was photographed on a beach, firing arrows at a helicopter – they are so much away and live in isolation and contact with them is banned .. .. yet how did Chau manage and how long such proselytization activities had been thriving and how many of them !  the friend MacLeod, 47, said Chau told him he had recently returned from India and was trying to figure out how to travel to the remote North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal.

What the media has not been highlighting of the murder is - Chau was a preacher  and had visited the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the past,  had posted photos on Instagram too.   While some attempts were made to portray him as an explorer  out to understand the boundaries of terrestrial human travels; it appears that he was only preacher who had ventured to a remote prohibited place.  The fact is the North Sentinel island is out of bounds even to the Indian navy in a bid to protect its reclusive inhabitants who number only about 150 . 
International Christian Concern wanted investigation and stated  'India must take steps to counter the growing wave of intolerance and violence.'  -  a crime of stepping into a forbidden zone, reportedly earlier too, with an intent to only religious conversion requires only condemnation .. .. he managed to reach the   remote stretch by offering money to local fishermen. A spokeswoman for the US consulate in Chennai said: 'We are aware of reports concerning a US citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 'When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts,' she added, but declined to provide further details over privacy concerns.

Indian authorities should enforce stricter protection of the Sentinelese and their island for the safety of the original inhabitants.  'The Sentinelese have shown again and again that they want to be left alone, and their wishes should be respected.'  They are the world's most isolated tribe.  An armed British expedition led by 20-year-old Maurice Vidal Portman – the British Officer in Charge of the Andamanese – landed on North Sentinel Island in January 1880 searching for natives. They found recently abandoned villages and paths, but the Sentinelese were nowhere to be seen – they had disappeared into the forest. After days of searching, they found six of them: an elderly couple and four children. They were transported to Port Blair, capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 'in the interest of science,' according to Survival International, an organization that campaigns for the rights of tribal people. Portman noted that the six 'sickened rapidly, and the old man and his wife died, so the four children were sent back to their home .. but perhaps they carried disease and  how many Sentinelese became ill as a result of this 'science' is not known. 

'At this moment, a strange thing happened – a woman paired off with a warrior and sat on the sand in a passionate embrace. This act was being repeated by other women, each claiming a warrior for herself, a sort of community mating, as it were. Today, the island is out of bounds even to the Indian navy in a bid to protect its reclusive inhabitants who number only about 150.

Let us learn to respect their privacy – it is cruel invasion of their rights and one cannot call it a crime by any yardstick.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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