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The authorities on the Andaman Islands have warned that offering sightings of the Jarawa tribe to tourists is a violation of an Indian Supreme Court Order. The Order is aimed at protecting vulnerable tribes and any violation could invite contempt of court. The caution went out to hoteliers, tour operators, taxi drivers and others who have been known to organise such sightings, despite prohibition by the local administration.
The Supreme Court Order states that the Jarawa, amongst other tribes, should be protected from any contact with mainstream society to minimise exposure to germs and disease.
The Jarawa resisted contact with settlers on their islands until 1998. Now, they are under serious threat from outsiders invading their land.
Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘ We welcome efforts to crack down on those who enter the Jarawa’s land without their permission. The Jarawa should not be treated as a tourist attraction – all interaction with outsiders is potentially lethal as it could introduce diseases to which the tribe have no immunity.’