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Two tour operators facing 7 yr jail if convicted in Andaman "human safari" scandal

Port Blair, Sun, 29 Jan 2012 ANI

Port Blair, Jan 29(ANI): Two men may face upto seven years in jail if convicted of organizing trips in the Andaman Islands to enable tourists to see Jarawa tribals.


Rajesh Kumar Vyas and Sarjeet Singh Guddu appeared in a court in Port Blair and were remanded in custody for two weeks.


Three Indian tour operators have been charged in connection with the Observer's investigation into the "human safari" scandal in the Andaman Islands to see the protected Jarawa tribe, and forcing tribal women to dance in return for food.


Police said that taking a foreigner into the Jarawa reserve amounted to "intentionally insulting with the intent to humiliate a vulnerable primitive tribe of these islands".


A linguist, Professor Anvita Abbi said the number of Jarawa tribals were declining like he Great Andamanese tribe whose population has dwindled from 5000 to 56.


"At a time when evidence of human safaris has prompted global outrage, it's vital the Indian government closes the Andaman Trunk Road," the Guardian quoted Survival International Director Stephen Corry, as saying.


The road passes through Jarawa territory and makes it easier for tourists to contact the tribe.


The Association of British Travel Agents has defended tour operators, saying that most of agents act responsibly and added that tourism can bring economic benefits to indigenous tribes.


The Jarawa tribe is an indigenous tribe of the Andaman Islands and their present numbers are estimated at between 250-400 individuals. (ANI)


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