Bhubaneswar, Jan 25 (IANS) The authorities in Odisha Wednesday denied that the primitive Bonda tribe in the state was in any way being exploited by tourists but ordered an inquiry to ascertain the facts.
The denial came after a section of media reported that some tour operators have been advertising their holiday packages stating that Bondas are ‘naked people’ and tourists can go for an excursion to the area where they reside.
The report has intensified the country’s already raging controversy over the Jarawa tribals in Andaman Islands who were allegedly exploited and forced to dance semi-naked for food as shown in a video footage recently released by a British newspaper.
The primitive Bondas only live in Maoist-affected Malkangiri district of Odisha and their population is around 2,000.
“We are not allowing anyone to the area without permission. This is not a case like Jarwa. We are not allowing anyone for recreation purpose,” district collector Balwant Singh told IANS, adding he has not come across any such allegations so far.
Nitin Bhanudas Jawale, another senior government officer, said it was not easy for foreigners to visit the area inhibited by primitive tribals in the state.
“The foreigners have to fulfill about a dozen conditions. They have to take permission from the district authorities. They have to report to the local police station for security reasons as the area is affected by left wing extremism. They have to give undertakings that they will not disturb the tribes in any way,” he told IANS.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has, however, asked the state tourism department to depute a senior officer to the district of Malkangiri to check if there was any substance in the report.