Lookout Notice To Be Issued Against French Filmmakers

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    KOLKATA: A lookout notice would soon be issued against two French filmmakers who allegedly trespassed into the protected Jarawa tribal reserve and secretly filmed a documentary on the threatened aboriginal tribe in the Andaman islands, officials said.

    “We are cross-checking the records of their arrival in India with the immigration office. Once we have the exact dates we will send a lookout notice against them through the Ministry of External Affairs,” North and Middle Andaman SP Santosh Kumar Meena said from Port Blair.

    Last week an FIR was filed against French director Alexandre Dereims and producer Claire Beilvert under various Sections of the Protection of the Aboriginal Tribes (Amendment) Act 2012 and Foreigners Amendment Act 2004.

    Police has since then arrested two locals of Karen community and is looking for two others who had helped the filmmakers meet Jarawa tribals.

    The filmmakers had uploaded details and photographs on a website and a Facebook page but were removed after they were sent a notice by the Union Territory’s administration asking them to restrain from releasing any visual related to the Jarawas.

    Extremely vulnerable to diseases, the 400-strong Jarawa tribe live as nomadic hunter-gatherers and till as recent as 1998 they had hardly any contact with the outside world.

    “Making any contact or shooting photos, videos with them is illegal. The filmmakers have violated the law of the land and will have to face trial as per law once we are able to catch hold of them,” the SP said. Andaman and Nicobar’s tribal welfare secretary Theva Neethi Dhas said the Jarawas have also confirmed that two foreigners and a translator had visited them during March-April.

    Members of the Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti (AAJVS) are authorised by the administration to talk to the Jarawas who can speak in their native language only.

    In post-production stage now, the film ‘Organic’ is about Utchu, a two-year-old Jarawa boy, his family and friends.

    On their website the filmmakers claimed to have gathered the biggest material – photos, film and interviews – about the Jarawas.

    “We are now at the post-production stage. In order to finish it we will launch a crowd-funding campaign at the end of 2014. We hope to release Organic in theatres in 2015,” they had said.

    The filmmakers also said they found a way to meet and interview the Jarawas several times during the last three years.

    Officials said it is not easy to man the tribal area and ensure that no unauthorised person is allowed to meet the Jarawas.

    “We have a police lookout post outside the tribal reserve but since the area is too big it is a tough task for us,” the SP said.

    Jarawas, among the four major tribes including Great Andamanese, Onge and Sentinelese, are believed to have lived in their Indian Ocean home for up to 55,000 years.

    Source: The New Indian Express