Police to be trained to protect Jarawa tribe

January 25, 2007

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The authorities on the Andaman Islands have begun a training programme for local police and welfare staff charged with protecting the Jarawa tribe.

The 300 Jarawa resisted contact with outsiders until 1998. Now, they are in serious danger from contact with poachers and other outsiders invading their land, hunting the animals they depend on and bringing disease, violence and exploitation. Police and welfare staff have often been complicit in the abuse of the tribe.

The government's Jarawa policy, announced in 2004, promised, 'The personnel working for Jarawas would be provided with proper training and sensitization.'

The local government newspaper, the Daily Telegrams, announced the training programme, saying, 'it is the bounden duty of all functionaries to ensure that [the Jarawa's] lifestyle is not interfered with and the resources preserved for them are also not exploited by any outsiders.'