Report By: Nina Rai
Port Blair, 11 Jan., 2012
A shocking piece of news has emanated from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which has now caused quite a furor in India. The native Jarawa tribal women here are alleged to be lured to dance bare chested in front of tourists, in return for food informs a leading British newspaper.
It may be noted the Jarawa tribes have inhabited the Andaman Islands in relative peace for thousands of years. Currently there are barely 403 surviving Jarawa tribal members who reside in a natural state in the reserve forests on south Andaman in India. Being reclusive, they are innocent and guileless. They are therefore very vulnerable and this is unfortunately leading to their exploitation.
UK’s 'The Observer' has released an video footage which shows the tribal women being lured to dance naked waist upwards for the tourist’s amusement by police officers after bribes are allegedly paid to them by the visitors. In the amateur video taken by a tourist, an off-camera police officer is heard urging the Jarawa women to dance. He is heard saying…."Dance ….. Dance for me." He is even heard saying "I gave you food." According to one report, he was allegedly paid a 200 pound bribe by rich tourists to entice the women tribals to dance.
Check Guardian Video: http://gu.com/p/34fcz
This kind of ‘human safari’ is understood to be conducted under the supervision of the local police, inform sources. However, such safaris blatantly breach laws that ban close contact with these rare tribes and also prohibit taking photographs of them. Thanks to tour companies which conduct safaris through jungles on the island on a daily basis, the influx of tourists has risen in recent years and this has lead to flouting of laws many a times.
Meanwhile, seeing the furor in the media and everywhere in India, the Indian Home Ministry has woken up to this alarming news. It has now demanded a status report on the Andaman tribes in 24 hours from local administration. Terming the incident "obnoxious and disgusting,” K P Singh Deo, Tribal Affairs Minister said "I've read the report in the newspapers, what I saw in the clips was disgusting. I've asked for a report and will certainly take action on it."
Naturally this report has not gone down well with the local administration in Andaman and Nicobar islands. The islands DGP S B Deol refuted the claims and informed that the said video was old one belonging to the year 2002. According to DGP Deol, the person who had shot the video has actually flouted rules and would have to bear the consequences of his action.
However, Gethin Chambarlain 'The Observer' journalist has debunked the DGP’s claim saying the video was in-fact recent. He even gave the amount paid as bribe to the police. He said it cost the tourists' Rs.15,000. “Six months back, a police officer was disciplined for doing so," claimed Chambarlain.
Youtube: Andaman Shocker