New Delhi: The government has stressed on the need to immunise members of the Jarawa tribe of Andaman and Nicobar Islands against diseases and genetic disorders to ensure that their numbers do not dwindle further.
The 2001 Census put the Jarawas count at 241. The tribe first came in contact with the civilisation in late 1997 when some Jarawas started coming out of their forest to visit nearby settlements. But soon there was an outbreak of measles epidemic though the number of casualties was not known.
Recently the tribe was in news after it was reported that some of its members were made to dance in front of foreign tourists in return of food.
"Jarawas need to be immunised and probably medical experts and anthropologists will have to study and tell us how they existed all these years and what needs to be done now," Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo said.
On whether the government is planning to form a team of experts to conduct studies on the Jarawas, he said, "Lot of people have already gone into these areas and lot of studies have been done and papers written.
"Now it is a question of contacting them (the experts) and having some intellectual discourse with them before we come to some kind of decision."
He said that "utmost importance" should be given to increase their immunity, adding, "Probably nutrition is another thing which can do this and their existence.
"Their health and food needs have to be looked into and it can be done there itself. They are very few in numbers and it is important to see that they don't dwindle further, that their population itself is not at stake," Deo said.