Saturday, October 05, 2013

Andaman's 'Jarawas' Comes Out Of Forest Demanding Food

By Salim Merchant / Port Blair

In an interesting development, a group of 10 people from the Andaman's Jarawa community have come out of the forest at Kadamtala Island in Middle Andaman and protested at the  Kadamtala panchayat office demanding that they wanted meet the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to lodge a complaint with him for shortage of food items.
The Pradhan of Kadamatala immediately informed this matter to the Deputy Commissioner of North and Middle Andaman who directed R Meneka, the Assistant Commissioner of Rangat,  to reach Kadamtala to tackle the situation.

According to the Pradhan of Kadamtala Panchayat, the Jarawas went back to the jungle by afternoon after the talks with the Assistant Commissioner.

A large number of villagers gathered at the  Panchayat office to see the protesting Jarawas. Afee, a Jarawa youth, who led the protest, told the gathering in Hindi: “We want to meet the Lt. Governor so that we can tell our problems to him. We don’t have food, we are in distress. Normally we eat wild boars, potatoes and fish, but nowadays there is severe shortage of food inside jungle.” 

“We often sleep with empty belly, but do not get any food item from the babus. We know the government (sarkar) is sending a lot of food items and cloths for us, but we don’t get anything. We want our children to study in school, like the Onge children. We also want to become (bada admi) rich,” Afee said.

However, the Andaman and Nicobar Administration is in a denial mode over the incident. Meneka told ‘Express’ that the Jarawas did not protest at the panchayat office.  “First thing I must say that there was no protest. They said two things to me. 

First, they wanted to sharpen their weapon, which we agreed, and secondly they wanted dry ration and spices, on which I told them that the secretary of Tribal Welfare will visit them soon and they can place this demand in front of him. Not even single time the Jarawas told me that they want to meet the Lt Governor,” he said.

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