Port Blair, Sept. 26: In an exclusive interview with Andaman Chronicle, the Chairperson Tribal Council, Teressa said, “We do not have any objections on non-tribals coming to our islands. But they should know their limits and respect the law of the land”.

Explaining the case of Murganandan, a non-tribal businessman in Teressa, held by the cops for cheating innocent tribals, Johnah Paul, CTC, Teressa said, “He has been looting the innocent tribals by promising them motor bikes, Television and other house hold goods. This has been going on since past five years or more”.

We had already lodged a complaint to the Station House Officer and investigation had started. Unfortunately the case was kept aside after the concerned SHO was transferred, Johnah explained.

Later we received more complaints from the tribals who started opening up against Murganandan. The CTC then decided to write to the Chief Secretary. It is only after we met the Chief Secretary that a proper investigation was conducted, the CTC said.

“We have our own laws, rules and regulation which are followed strictly by our community. Any outsider who comes to our land should respect them and also should be aware of their limits”.

Explaining the case of Murganandan, Johnah said, “He used to visit our island before tsunami. He was a school student then. He had a relative who runs a shop at Teressa. Later after tsunami, he married a tribal girl and started his own business on the land belonging to one of our tribal member Festus”.

“The tribals are not well educated and are not much aware of the outside world. They had faith on Murganandan and handed over the bank pass book and signed on the blank withdrawal forms.

“Though the police have been able to track an amount to the tune of Rs. 35 Lakhs but we know that the amount is much more”, Johnah explains.

“We need development. We don’t say that outsiders should not come but they should know their limits. They should not involve in cheating and threatening innocent people. Murganandan had gone to such an extent that he openly threatened our tribal members”.

“Though he might have married a tribal girl from Teressa but the very day he took her hand, he is solely responsible for her. We do not consider him as a tribal and even his wife will not be considered as a member of our community. She is free to visit the place to meet her relatives but cannot claim to be a member of the tribal community”, adds the CTC, Teressa.

The CTC accompanied by the first captain of Bengali Village, Teressa Shri. Benher also told AC that they have come to meet the Lt. Governor to intervene in the case of Murganandan.

 “He has been threatening the member who complained against him. He has also occupied our land. We will request the LG Sahab to direct concerned authorities not to issue tribal pass to him in future”.

Meanwhile, the duo from Teressa also took the opportunity to express their gratitude to the Director General of Police, Shri SBS Deol for the action taken by the Police department.

We have other problems as well said Benher. It has been eight years after tsunami and the road work hasn’t started. There is no proper school building, health centre and other offices in our island. Even the govt. employees do not wish to be posted in our island due to lack of facilities, added the first captain.

The case of Murganandan seems to be an eye-opener to the tribals of Teressa Island. It has also sent a clear message to the non-tribals who wish to venture in tribal areas for personal gains. The tribals have a rich culture and follow the rules made by their leaders to safeguard their community. They are peace loving people but people like Murganandan have misused their innocence and tolerant nature, the result of which is visible.