Authorities in India on Thursday, ordered the arrest a tour operator for running what is described as a human safari after a video surfaced showing Jarawa tribal women on the Andaman island dancing in exchange for food.
I've instructed the Andaman and Nicobar administration to quickly apprehend the videographer and the tour operator concerned and interrogate them, India's home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters, according to Reuters.
Chidambaram also said that the video has been sent for analysis and that it seemed as if the video is three to four years old.
The video, which was first released by Britain's Observer newspaper last week, showed the reclusive Jarawa tribal women dancing and singing on a road in the jungle for food. Someone behind the camera can be heard telling the women Come on, do it. Dance for me. Dance now, according to the video caption. The women were also told that they would get more food from those traveling in a vehicle behind.
A police official in Port Blair, the capital, told Reuters that authorities were trying to identify the person who recorded the video but that no action has been taken as yet.
According to the UK's Guardian, the Jarawa tribe have peacefully lived in the Andaman Islands for thousands of years before tour companies began running safaris through their jungle. This is reportedly done on a daily basis and wealthy tourists allegedly pay police to make the usually naked women dance for their entertainment.
The Guardian reported also that the footage was filmed by a tourist and that Jarawa women were being told to dance by an off-camera police officer.
Andaman Islands director general of police, Shamsher Bahadur Deoul, has since denied claims that cops are involved.
But still the video has attracted much outrage from local media and rights groups.
The nonprofit Survival International's Web site noted that poachers threaten the survival of Jarawa tribe, a tribe that chose to not have contact with outsiders until 1998.
On Thursday, Survival issued a release about an undercover audio tape it claims proves Andaman 'human safaris' are still happening. Survival stated that the tape was recorded last month by journalist Gethin Chamberlain.
For the trip, vehicle and... all like (unclear) 25 to 30,000 like that, the operator can be heard saying on the tape. Because the policeman take 10 to 15 like that. And vehicle and some gift to the tribals also... like fruits, biscuits... you can take some gift items too. (You can listen the tape here.)
There are laws in place to protect the Jarawa tribe from outsiders, but it seems these laws are not being adhered to.
Survival noted that in 2004, authorities announced a new policy, which stated that the Jarawa would be allowed to choose their own future and that there would be few intervention from outsiders. The Web site also stated that the Indian Supreme Court ordered the closure of the road through the Jarawa's land in 2002. However, the road remains open and poaching and exploitation are now growing dangers.
This has been happening for a long time. The administration has taken steps to curb such human safaris but enough has not been done, Sophie Grig of Survival International, which defends tribal peoples' rights, told Reuters. The main issue is the Andaman Trunk road which passes right through Jarawa territory.
There are nearly 400 Jarawa individuals living on the islands.
You can watch the video below to the Jarawa tribal women dancing for tourists in exchange for food: