Integration or isolation? A “Down To Earth” discussion on the fate of the Jarawa tribe – Andaman

Contact with the outside world has exposed the Jarawas to various dangers. Is isolation the best way to conserve? A debate

Numbering around 400, people of the Jarawa tribe occupy the lion’s share of land in South and Middle Andaman Islands, earmarked as Jarawa Tribal Reserve (JTR). This irks leaders of political parties and businesspeople, who often question the need for such a huge stretch of land for a handful of Jarawas. They also suggest and offer welfare measures for the Jarawas, not willing to realise the consequences these may have on the tribe. […]

“Administration created the malaise” – DENIS GILES is the Editor of Andaman Chronicles

“Jarawas want to integrate”
MOHAN HALDER is Sarpanch of Tushanabad Panchayat. He narrated this piece to Sayantan Bera

“The administration is a facilitator”
G THEVA NEETHI DHAS is Secretary, Tribal Welfare, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

“Listen, don’t command”
MANISH CHANDI is a research scholar with the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, and member of the advisory board of the Department of Tribal Welfare and Andaman Nicobar Tribal Research Institute


Source: What ails the Jarawa people in the Andamans? | Down To Earth
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Date Visited: 3 January 2022

Save Jarawa

Andaman and Nicobar islands, union territory of India were inhabited by 14 aboriginal tribes. Some of these tribal populations have already become extinct, and the numbers of the existing ones are also dwindling. Across India, most of the tribals have made the shift to agriculture. Only tiny groups like Jarawas remain hunter-gatherers. This makes them culturally different.

Who are the Jarawa? The tribe belong to the Negrito group of tribal communities, including the Onge, the Great Andamanese and Sentinelese living on the Andaman Islands. They have lived and flourished in the rainforests of the island for 20,000 years.

Jarawa is fast disappearing from a population of 5000, 150 years ago. According to the latest census, from 2011, there are 44 Great Andamanese, 380 Jarawa, 101 Onge, 229 Shompen and 15 Sentinelese remaining in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Problems do the Jarawa face: Of the four Andaman islands tribes, it is Jarawa’s situation that is most precarious. […]

Settlers increased the number, trees were being felled, and poaching rose considerably, threatening the delicate ecosystem of the tribe. The developmental authorities turned deaf ear to the protest of environmentalists, anthropologists and the Jarawas themselves. […]

Today the Andaman truck road (ATR road) carries the traffic right through the heart of Jarawa reserve. […] In 2002, the Indian Supreme court ordered the closure of the road, yet it still remains open.

In 2013, following a campaign from Survival and local organization ‘Search’ to ban ‘human safaris’, the Supreme Court banned tourists from travelling along with the ATR for seven weeks. After the Andaman Authorities changed their own rules in order to allow the human safaris to continue, the Supreme Court had no choice but to reverse the ban.

In October 2017, the Andaman Authorities opened the long-awaited alternative sea route to Baratang. This sea route was supposed to stop the human safaris. But despite the authorities’ commitment to ensuring all tourists would have to use the sea route, very few currently do, and the market in human safaris along the road is flourishing.

Government should step in to protect the Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands, which are now in danger of being wiped out by settlers invading their territory. […]

Source: “Save Jarawa” by Surabhi Sinha (Times of India, 2 June 2021)
Date Visited: 22 February 2022

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

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The main tribes living on different islands are the Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas, Sentinelene, Nicobarese and Shompens. The tribal population on the slands decreased from 29,469 in 2001to 28,530 in 2011—a decrease of 3.19 per cent. | Read more >>

Source: Tribal population of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has declined: census report | Down To Earth
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Date Visited: 3 January 2022

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