21 Oct 2013

Court Reverse Decision Offers Human Safari Fears as Andaman Islands Road Reopens

With the reverse in the decision, there is yet again the threat for the Jawara community as the reopening of the road through a tribal reserve in the Andaman Islands could lead to “human safaris” a campaign group has warned. The Indian Supreme Court has temporarily closed the Andaman Trunk road to traffic, but it seems to reserve it decision.

The Grand Trunk road is the main access highway for the islands, but the road opens up to the unscrupulous tour guides, who has exploited the tribal community and more of all, expose to the tourists has created risk of diseases, who all come in contact with tourists.

One of the several indigenous tribes living in the archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, The Jawaras began to make contact with the mainstream society in 1998 and now the number has come down to 400, due to the lack of immunity and many illnesses.

Survival International ( has campaign widely to put the tours to the end as the ply of the vehicles has widen the threat to the community and they welcome the decision earlier of the closing of the road. There was an adverse affect on the tourism as it reduced the traffic entry by two thirds.

“Earlier, tourists used to throw biscuits and sweets to attract the Jarawa close to their vehicles, “the spokeswoman told Telegraph Travel.

While the tours are sold as trips to Baratang Island, where visitors can enjoy the captivating view of the limestone and mud volcano, most of the scrupulous tour operators use this opportunity as “human safari”, bringing a serious threat to the community.

Sophie Grig, senior campaigner at Survival, called for the Andaman Authorities to bring an alternative route of access for islanders and ban the tourists from the reserve safaris.

The court has yet to publish the decision, the reason behind the ruling remain unclear. It is thought that the local settlers on the island filed an affidavit starting that they need the road to access to the hospital in Port Blair. Some of the developers want the road to open up as they want to used the island for the commercial activitity but they fears that some of the politicians would favour the the tribal community in the area.

The re-opening of the road is expected to take place on Friday but for the Survival’s it is a hard blow as there three year campaign seems to lose the importance. “It is hard to believe that the Supreme Court has again allowed tourism activities and human safari in these areas to start again.

The moving of the vehicles disturbs the life of the Jarawa community and more f all it has also caused accidents earlier. She added in one accident “one jarawa boy lost its arm while trying to grab some sweets and biscuits been thrown from a moving vehicle.”

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