New Delhi/Port Blair: In a shocking disclosure, a leading British newspaper has released an amateur video footage shot in the Andaman Islands which shows tribal women, naked waist up, dancing for tourists.
The tribe in question is the Jarawa tribe, who have inhabited the Andaman Islands for thousands of years.
The newspaper reported that the women are forced to dance, mostly naked, for tourists’ amusement by local police who are paid a bribe by the visitors. And the inflow of tourists has only gone up in the recent past thanks to tour companies that run safaris through jungles on the islands every day.
In the video shot by a tourist, a police officer not seen in the video is heard telling the Jarawa women to dance.
"Dance," he is heard telling. "Dance for me."
The officer was reportedly paid a 200 pound bribe by wealthy tourists to get the women dance. "I gave you food," he is heard telling the women.
The Jarawa is a reclusive tribe with whom the contact has been established only recently. It is the tribe’s first effort to reach out to the outside world. And what a shame this effort has turned out to be.
As per official data, there are 403 members in the Jarawa tribe who live in a jungle reserve on South Andaman. While being trusting and innocent, they are vulnerable and that is what is leading to their exploitation.
Govt seeks explanation
The Indian government today asked the Andaman and Nicobar administration to explain how the primitive tribals living in seclusion came in contact with outsiders and how half naked tribal women were forced to dance for tourists.
The Home Ministry may take punitive action against people responsible for the alleged act if the reports are found to be genuine, an official said.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration, which
reports to the Union Home Ministry, termed the footage as
"highly irresponsible" and said it was not clear in which year
the video clip was recorded.
In its preliminary report, the administration said it will
initiate prosecution against the videographer involved in the
coverage for a British newspaper for "inciting" the tribals to
dance in front of tourists.
Terming the incident "obnoxious and disgusting", Tribal Affairs Minister KP Singh Deo told a television news channel: "It is disgraceful if something like this is happening.
"It ... cannot be pardoned. It deserves exemplary punishment," he said.
Law and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said strict action should be taken against those responsible for forcing the tribal women to dance.