Indigenous People of Andaman and Nicobar
- 28 Aug 2020
- 2 min read
Why in News
The report of Covid-19 cases among the members of the Great Andamanese tribe is a matter of concern as the total population of the tribe is already low.
- Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG): Great Andamanese are one of five PVTGs that reside in Andamans archipelago. The other four are: Jarwas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.
- Shompen is the only PVTG in the region with Mongoloid features. The other PVTGs have negroid features. Some of them interact with ‘Great Nicobarese’ - a Scheduled Tribe.
- The population of Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ primitive tribes has rapidly declined over the years. The epidemics and crippling health crises of the past have been seen to disproportionately impact these indigenous tribal groups.
- 75 tribal groups have been categorised by the Ministry of Home Affairs as PVTGs. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of ‘Development of PVTGs’ exclusively for them.
- Article 366 (25) of the Constitution provides a process to define Scheduled Tribes.
- Great Andamanese Tribe:
- The tribe is based in ‘Strait Island’ of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The members speak Jeru dialect among themselves and their number stands at 51 as per the last study carried out by Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti in 2012.
- More than 5,000 Great Andamanese lived in the Islands before British settlers arrived in the 19th century.
- However, hundreds were killed in conflict as they defended their territories from British invasion, and thousands more were wiped out in epidemics of measles, influenza and syphilis (a bacterial infection).