Video footage of the Jarawa tribal women dancing for tourists, reportedly in exchange for food, on India's Andaman Islands, has created uproar among human rights campaigners.
British newspapers - The Guardian and The Observer (a weekly) - earlier released the video indicating the involvement of local law enforcement personnel in human safaris on the islands.
India's Tribal Affairs Minister, V. Kishore Chandra Deo, described the video as deplorable and said an investigation had been ordered.
You cannot treat human beings like beasts for the sake of money. Whatever kind of tourism is that, I totally disapprove of that and it is being banned also, the Minister told the Press Trust of India.
The controversy surrounding the commercial exploitation of the Jarawas was first exposed by an NGO - Survival International - in 2010. The investigation exposed the fact that tourists were continuing to use the Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) to enter the Jarawa reserve.
The building of the ATR resulted in widespread encroachment and exploitation of Jarawa lands that caused a lawsuit to be filed with the Calcutta High Court, which has jurisdiction over the islands. The case was escalated to the Supreme Court of India which made a ruling in 2002, based on the Shekhar Singh Commission report, ordering closure of the ATR to protect the Jarawas. Unfortunately, the administration has so far ruled out closing the ATR.
The ancestors of the Jarawas are thought to have been part of the first successful human migrations out of Africa. They are a nomadic people, living in bands of 40-50 members. In 1998, some Jarawa started coming out of the forests to visit nearby towns and settlements, for the first time.
Survival International has reported the principal threat to the Jarawa's existence comes from encroachment on their land; a fact made worse by the building of the ATR through their forests in the 1970s.
Survival International has also reported that in 1999 and 2006, the Jarawas suffered outbreaks of measles - a disease that has wiped out many tribes worldwide - following contact with outsiders.
Check out a video on the Jarawa tribe here...