Andaman "human safari" video triggers arrest order

PORT BLAIR Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:58pm IST

Related Topics

PORT BLAIR (Reuters) - The government ordered the arrest on Thursday of a tour operator for running a "human safari" in the Andaman islands after a video emerged showing police making half-naked women from the Jarawa tribe dance in return for food.

The video, first released by Britain's Observer newspaper last week, showed women of the Jarawa tribe dancing and singing on a jungle road. An off-camera policeman tells them: "dance for me....dance now".

The authorities were trying to ascertain the identity of the person who had shot the video, but no substantial action had yet been taken, said a police official in Port Blair, the capital of the tropical archipelago.

The case has sparked outrage from the Indian media and rights groups that say such practices are common on the islands despite laws to protect the Jarawa from contact with the outside world.

"I've instructed the Andaman and Nicobar administration to quickly apprehend the videographer and the tour operator concerned and interrogate them," Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters.

He also added that the video had been sent for analysis but appeared to be three to four years old.

The cluster of about 570 Andaman and Nicobar islands belong to India and are home to tribes who have lived there for thousands of years.

"This has been happening for a long time. The administration has taken steps to curb such human safaris but enough has not been done. The main issue is the Andaman Trunk road which passes right through Jarawa territory," said Sophie Grig of Survival International, a group defending tribal peoples' rights.

In 2002, the Supreme Court ordered the island chain's administration to close the road to vehicular traffic as Indian law prohibited close contact with them.

Grig, however, told Reuters that the road remained open.

The Jarawa number barely 400 individuals who largely shun interaction with outsiders.

The Observer report said it was unknown when the footage had been recorded but the author had witnessed similar activities on a recent trip to the islands.

(Additional reporting by Arup Roychoudhury and Annie Banerji; Editing by Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Market Eye

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Intel's Valuation

Intel's Valuation

Intel could rise 30 percent over next two years - Barron's.  Full Article 

Canonisation

Canonisation

Pope declares sainthood of two Indians, four Italians.  Full Article 

Stake Sale Strike

Stake Sale Strike

Coal India trade unions call off strike in victory for Modi.  Full Article 

Interview with Bulgari CEO

Interview: Bulgari CEO

Bulgari CEO: we shouldn’t have left India so we’re back.  Full Article 

Formula One

Formula One

Hamilton takes second F1 title in style.  Full Article 

Available For Remake

Available For Remake

Bollywood finally wants to pay the price for remakes.  Full Article 

Davis Cup

Davis Cup

Vintage Federer seals first Davis Cup for Switzerland.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage