20November2018

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

Todays Highlight

In 2008 Ambrósio attended the premiere of 'Birdwatchers' at the Venice Film Festival. © Survival

Breaking news: Guarani leader and film-star murdered

Guarani Indian leader and film-star Ambrósio Vilhalva was murdered on Sunday night, after decades of campaigning for his tribe’s right to live on their ancestral land.

Ambrósio was reportedly stabbed at the entrance to his community, known as Guyra Roká, in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state. He was found dead in his hut, with multiple knife wounds. He had been repeatedly threatened in recent months.

Ambrósio starred as the main character in the award-winning feature film Birdwatchers, which portrays the Guarani’s desperate struggle for their land. He traveled internationally to speak out about the tribe’s plight, and to push the Brazilian government into protecting Guarani land, as it is legally obliged to do.

He said, ‘This is what I most hope for: land and justice… We will live on our ancestral land; we will not give up’.

The Guarani of Guyra Roká were evicted from their land decades ago by ranchers. For years they lived destitute on the roadside. In 2007 they re-occupied part of their ancestral land, and now live on a fraction of their territory, but most has been cleared for enormous sugar cane plantations. One of the principal landowners involved is powerful local politician José Teixeira. The Guarani are left with almost nothing.

Ambrósio spoke out passionately against the planting of sugar cane on his community’s land, and against Raízen, a joint venture between Shell and Cosan which used the sugar cane for biofuel production. His community’s campaign with Survival International forced Raízen not to use sugar cane grown on Guarani land.

A Guarani spokesman told Survival today, ‘Ambrósio fought hard against the sugar cane. He was one of our main leaders, always at the forefront of our struggle, so he was being threatened. He was an extremely important figure in the Guarani land campaign, and now, we’ve lost him’.

The police are investigating the killing, and two suspects have reportedly been detained.

Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘The Guarani have one of the highest murder rates in the world and land theft is at the heart of all the violence. In spite of this, the land demarcation process is stalling – the authorities are doing far too little to challenge ranchers who have taken the tribe’s ancestral land. How many more gruesome killings must the Guarani suffer before their territory is mapped out and protected?’

  • Written by Denis Giles
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Patwari Arrested by Anti-Corruption Unit

Port Blair, Dec. 2: Taking forward the Hon’ble Lt. Governor, Lt. Gen (Retd) AK Singh’s Zero Tolerance against Corruption, the Anti Corruption Unit of A&N Administration today arrested oneSudeep Saha, Patwari, Diglipur Tehsil, A&N Administration while accepting a bribe of Rs. 5,000/- this evening. He was caught red handed by.

  • Written by Denis Giles
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Long Island Visit: Pristine Beauty of Long Island Needs to Be Harnessed, Says Lt. Governor AK Singh

Port Blair, Nov. 30: The Lt Governor, Lt Gen (Retd) A. K. Singh, visited Long Island on 30th Nov. 2013. On his arrival at the island, the LG was received by the Pradhan and other members of Long Island, along with the member of Zilla Parishad of Long Island, Pradhan of Sabri Panchayat and other members of Panchayat.

At Long Island, the Lt Governor held a meeting with representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions and officers of the Departments. During the meeting, the problems faced by the people such as absence of rural roads, absence of Allopath Doctor at the local health centre, repair of RO Water Treatment Plant, non-availability of seats in ferries and other problems were discussed.

The LG was also apprised about the tourism potential of the Island. However, due to lack of facilities the potential has not been exploited. In this regard the LG has asked the Pradhan to work-out a proposal for tourism development and submit the same through the Deputy Commissioner. 

The Lt. Governor later took a round of the Guest House, PHC, school, playground and also the seafront to see the necessity of the sea wall. Specific directions were also given on various issues and deadlines set for the completion of works, some of which have been pending for many years. Chief Secretary, Shri Anand Prakash, Secretary to LG, Shri S. N. Misra, Deputy Commissioner (N&M Andaman), Shri Sanjay Kumar and Chief Engineer, APWD, Shri P. K. Singh accompanied the Lt Governor during this tour.      

Having visited the Island, the Lt. Gov. AK Singh through his social media account communicated that his visit to Long Island was interesting for reasons more than one. He also said that the pristine beauty of the island can be harnessed and there are many issues which have been languishing for years.

  • Written by Denis Giles
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