The tribal rights groups, Survival International, on Tuesday launched a tourism boycott of Andaman Islands urging tourists not to visit the Islands until the ``degrading’’ practice of ``human safaris’’ was stopped.

It said that hundreds of tourists from India and around the world travelled along the “illegal” Andaman Trunk Road every day to “ogle at members of the Jarawa tribe – treating them like animals in a safari park.”

“The tours have been widely condemned both in India and around the world … Earlier this year, the Supreme Court banned tourists from the road for seven weeks reducing the traffic along the Andaman Trunk Road by two-thirds. But the ban was lifted after the Islands’ authorities changed their own regulations in order to let the ‘human safaris’ continue,’’ the organisation said.

It said it was calling on the 200,000 tourists visiting the islands every year to stay away until an alternative sea route was put in place. It had also written to more than 200 international travel operators urging them to stop their tours to the Andaman Islands.

“The Andaman Government is arguing that the road is a necessary lifeline for the north of the islands. It is nonsense: in fact, there’s no reason for the road. The route by boat is faster, more convenient and cheaper for islanders, so providing an alternative sea route is better for locals, tourists, and the Jarawa alike. There will be no end to these degrading human safaris until tourists stop using the road, and we’ll continue the boycott until that happens,” Survival’s director Stephen Corry said.