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'Human safaris': UK MPs call for road closure

February 06, 2012 18:00 IST

Concerned over reports of 'human safaris' in the Andaman Islands, British lawmakers have tabled a motion in the parliament calling upon the Indian government to close the Andaman Trunk Road that cuts through the Jarawa tribe's reserve.

The 'early day motion' on the controversial subject has been tabled by members of Parliament Andrew George and Dan Rogerson in the House of Commons.

Expressing concern over reports that tourists were treating the recently contacted Jarawa tribe like attractions in a 'human safari park'; the motion "notes that the abuse was carried out on the Andaman Trunk Road which was ordered to be closed by the Supreme Court of India in 2002".

The motion expresses concern that the Indian government was allegedly yet to act on the Supreme Court's ruling despite the current storm of protest, and urged the government to provide an alternative route, "and to take immediate action to close the Andaman Trunk Road in compliance with the law".

EDMs are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

Although there is very little prospect of EDMs being debated in the House, many attract much public interest. On Sunday, The Observer published details of two new videos allegedly showing police and military men being involved in 'human safaris'.

Sir Graham Watson, Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the Parliament's Delegation to India, has described the Jarawa's exploitation as a 'disgrace', adding he would take up the issue with Indian officials.

Survival International, the London-based charity organisation that has campaigned on the issue of 'human safaris', on Monday called on people to write emails through its website, urging the Indian government to take immediate action.

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