Andaman human safaris

Andaman human safarisGethin Chamberlain

In January 2012 India was scandalised when the Observer exposed the practice of human safaris in the Andaman Islands with the publication of this video, showing members of the threatened Jarawa tribe being coaxed into dancing in return for food.

The video accompanied an investigation in The Observer into the running of human safaris on the Andaman Islands, in which tourists bribed police to be allowed to ogle the Jarawa tribe, whose members only started to make contact with the outside world in the final years of the 20th Century. The video first appeared on the Guardian website, from where it was lifted and used on numerous television news reports.

The video had been circulating among tour operators in the Andaman Islands and Survival International had campaignedto try to save the future of the dwindling tribe. Publication of the video prompted the government in Delhi to bring pressure to bear on the Andaman authorities to restrict access to the tribe and for a while, the safaris were stopped.

They later resumed, but tourists are no longer allowed to stop on the road which passes through the Jarawa’s reserve. The fight continues to allow them to make their own decisions on whether to integrate into Andaman society or to remain isolated in their jungle.

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