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Govt makes exploitation of Andaman's Jarawa tribes a jailable offence

Press Trust of India
May 31, 2012 at 05:16pm IST

New Delhi: After the controversy over a video showing scantily clad Jarawa tribal women, the government on Thursday approved promulgation of a legislation that provides for imprisonment up to seven years for such crimes in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for promulgation of Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal tribes) Amendment Regulation 2012. Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters that the decision has been taken under Article 240 of the Constitution which empowers the President to take such measures in case of Union Territories.

"This regulation will cover the entire Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Tourist establishments would be prohibited and other commercial establishments would be regulated in the buffer zone, which would protect the aboriginal tribes from undesirable outside influences," Soni said.

Law to protect Andaman's Jarawa tribes approved

Under the law, the violator can be imprisoned for up to seven years and fined up to Rs 10,000.

The law incorporates stringent penal provisions to deter unauthorised entries, photography, videography, hunting, use of alcohol, inflammable material or biological germs, or even putting up advertisements to attract tourists in the buffer zone.

The zone would comprise of an area up to 5 km radius around the Jarawa tribal reserve. "The offenders can be imprisoned from 3 to 7 years and fined up to Rs 10,000," Soni said.

The minister maintained that an earlier attempt by the government to create this buffer zone had been quashed by the Calcutta High Court. A Special Leave Petition in the matter is pending with the Supreme Court.

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