A road at the centre of a ‘human safari’ scandal in the Andaman Islands is still open, exactly ten years after India’s Supreme Court ordered its closure.
The Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) cuts through the reserve of the Jarawa tribe, and has been internationally condemned for facilitating their exploitation.
The practise of ‘human safaris’, in which tourists are promised the chance to ‘spot’ the Jarawa as if they were animals in a park, was first exposed by Survival, the NGO which campaigns for the rights of tribal people, in 2010.
The findings revealed how biscuits and sweets were thrown from vehicles on the road to lure the Jarawa closer.
Since then, the UK’s Observer newspaper has revealed how tourists and police have been caught entering the reserve to watch and film the tribe.
India’s Supreme Court ordered the Andaman administration to close the ATR in May 2002. The Islands’ authorities have refused.
Senior Survival campaigner Sophie Grig has flown to the Andamans to call for the road to be closed, and an alternative route established.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today (3 May), "The Andaman authorities might be putting measures in place to try to control the use of the road, but it is clear that these measures don’t get to the root of the issue. The fact is 250 vehicles are still entering the reserve on a daily basis. The only way of ensuring the Jarawa are free to choose their way of life for themselves is by closing this illegal road."