23September2018

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

Poacher Intrudes and Camps Inside Jarawa Reserve, Culprit Let off on Bail

By Zubair Ahmed, Port Blair, Nov. 8: Before the Kadamtala Jarawa Circus row subsided, in which four persons were booked under the provisions of ANPATR, but the mastermind of the episode, Sampad Kumar, Pradhan, Kadamtala was let off on bail, who was booked under minor charges despite his involvement, another breach has been reported from Wandoor/Tarmugli. One habitual poacher, Nitai Mondal was arrested for illegal intrusion into Jarawa Reserve and camping with Jarawas inside the Reserve. However, as usual he has also been let off on bail.

Defying all the regulations and monitoring mechanism put in place by the Administration, a local poacher Nitai Mondal, resident of Guptapara reached Chotagoja Jarawa Camp, a Jarawa Reserve on the West Coast on 3rd November with ration articles - rice, vegetable oil, sugar and tea and camped with a group of Jarawas. He camped with them and the next day took two Jarawas - Dawa and Lekhte to Bambu Nallah, where other Jarawas were camping. He stayed with them for a day and later took 5 Jarawas - Anijamu (43), Illy (25), Anjale (27), Achehane(25), and Tahe (22) to Tarmugli Island.

Nitai Mondal, who is a habitual offender, is already booked in two cases of exploitation of Jarawas.

It is learnt from reliable sources that the culprit was nabbed by a police team with the assistance of AAJVS staff. The authorities comprising police and AAJVS team were informed by Alomole and Gilad, two Jarawas based in Tirur about the illegal intrusion of Nitai Mandal. The team immediately left for Tarmugli Island along with a Jarawa Kunu on a police interceptor boat, who got in touch with the five Jarawas. On further enquiry, the five Jarawas revealed that Nitai Mandal had stayed with them for two days and had later transported them to Tarmugli Island. The statement of Jarawas were recorded on a video capturing device too.

Dr. Vishwajit Pandya, a senior Anthropologist associated with the newly formed Andaman Nicobar Tribal Research and Training Institute (ANTRI) said that the recent incidents are a setback to the efforts taken by the concerned authorities to protect the territory of Jarawas from poaching and exploitation of the vulnerable tribe. He further added that there is a serious need for cooperation from all agencies to create a consciousness to check such activities.

This incident has once again exposed the claims of the Administration how the stringent provisions of the ANPATR has been flouted with ease. Despite all the efforts of the police and AAJVS team, the police it seems could not properly build a case against the offender, in which ample evidence and witnesses were in hand. It is learnt that the key witnesses and the video evidence were also not presented before the court.

The Kadamtala episode, where the Pradhan was booked on minor charges and got bail, could have set a precedent, had he been booked under ANPATR, but the sluggish approach of the Administration has paved way for more such violations.