Govt orders probe into Jarawas' exploitation

File PhotoFollowing media reports accompanied by a video clip showing half-naked Jarawa girls dancing in front of tourists for food at the command of a policeman, the Union Home Ministry has asked the Andaman administration to submit a report within 24 hours.

The Andaman and Nicobar administration, however, denied any role of the Andaman and Nicober Police and claimed it was an old video, which was being propagated by Survival International, a London-based non-governmental organisation that campaigns for complete isolation of Jarawas – the most primitive descendents of modern human beings who came out of Africa about 1.6 million years ago.

Even as Union Home Secretary R K Singh ordered the probe, the Andaman administration said that the matter had been investigated by Chief Secretary Shakti Sinha and the director general of police to ensure that the guilty were brought to book.

“The video under reference has been in circulation in internet for some time. The interaction of a group of Jarawas with a small group of tourists has taken place on the Andaman Trunk Road itself, and not inside the Jarawa area, but should not have happened,” the island administration said in a press statement.

“The person in camouflaged uniform cannot be identified but is clearly not a member of the Andaman and Nicobar Police,” it added. While the report referred to the involvement of a policeman who asked bare-chested girls to dance, the video has a voice, purportedly belonging to the policeman who had accepted bribe for allowing photography and the dance.

The Andaman islands is home to about 400 odd Jarawas – one of the main attraction of tourists visiting the islands – and their numbers have gone up by 40 per cent over the last decade.

Reacting to the media reports, Tribal Affairs Minister K C Deo said: “You cannot treat humans like beasts. I will go to the Andamans and see what is happening. I will take it up with the authorities there,” adding, however, that the video was over 10 years old.

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