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Development of Jarawa and Jharkhandi Adivasis of Andaman islands

Adivasi – Tribal India Group



The Jarawa Adivasis were among the first people to migrate from Africa to Asia but, their way of life is threatened by increased contact with the outsiders. Their future now depends on the decisions of the Indian government.


The Jarawa Adivasis population of around 300 people consists of dark skinned men and women similar to their African ancestor. They live in the forests of Andaman islands in isolation and misery.


The Jarawa Adivasis have been scheduled as a Primitive Tribal Group (PTG) in the Constitution of India, being hunter-gatherers and till recently, hostile to all outsiders.


During the British time a large population of Jarawas Adivasis, scattered over the entire Andaman group of Islands, were decimated in a bloody battle. Compounded by the effects of inbreeding, and tough living conditions in the forests of Andamans, the Jarawa Adivasis population decreased year by year to stand at 300 only.


The govt of India, guided by a collective decision of experts, has adopted a policy of isolation / no contact with the mainstream population, the drastically reduced hostility has emboldened both sides of the populations into frequent meetings, therefore, a situation of conflict, which does not pose that much of a problem but, the friendly interaction are resulting in inculcation of undesirable knowledge and habits as well as injection of race impurity. Therefore, it can be concluded that the isolation policy of the Govt Administration has failed totally and if the current policy and treatment continues, it will not take much time in total annihilation of the Jarawa Adivasis entity.


Demand for Development of Jarawa Adivasis seems to be questionable? —


The Member of Parliament, Bishnu Pada Ray has submitted the agenda points collected from the islanders for consideration of the Standing Committee Meeting of the Island Development Authority (IDA) meeting to be held in July 2010.


Agenda includes following considerable points for all concerned people -


Steps be taken to bring the Jarawa Adivasis up to the basic mainstream characteristics. Example can be taken from the treatment given to Birhor ( ) and Savar ( ) Adivasis of Jharkhand in Singhbhum and Khunti districts. In a nutshell, children in the age of 6 to 12 years were weaned away from the Adivasis community and kept in a normal school atmosphere, where they were very quickly trained in personal hygiene, use of clothes and basic reading and writing skills. They were also exposed to eating habits of simple mainstream people and modern amenities such as television and motor vehicles. After 6 months they were returned to the Adivasis community and re-contacted after a month. When they were found to have lost some of their clothes and mainstream habits; it was also observed that members of the Adivasis community had acquired some of the mainstream characteristics such as personal hygiene and use of clothes.


The exercise of schooling the same children were repeated, this time over a longer period. Over time, trainers were able to infiltrate into the main pockets of Adivasis community and inculcate skills of personal hygiene, wearing of clothes and their maintenance, partaking of cooked food and basic agricultural and horticultural activities. The final result was training the entire population into a village identical with any other village of Adivasis population in Jharkhand.


A similar drastic mainstreaming treatment be given to the Jarawa Adivasis population to ensure their survival against the adverse effects of unregulated contacts with the mainstream.


Recognition of Scheduled Tribe status to immigrant Adivasis in Andaman:


The initial taming of the wild territory of Andaman Islands began under the experienced hands of the Adivasis workers (men and women both) from Jharkhand Region of Indian states - Jharkhand, Bengal, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh including Chhattisgarh, who were brought in as contract labour in Public works Dept (PWD) and Forest Dept. These Adivasis, popularly known as 'Jharkhandi' began with the small number of 400 families in 1918 brought by the British masters to work in timber industry.


Progressively, with the increase of labour requirement for settlement of large populations by the independent Indian government, the population of 'Jharkhandi Adivasis' stands at 70,000 i.e. more than 17% of the total population of A&N islands. The 'Jharkhandi Adivasis' are mainly Munda, Oraon, Santhal, Lohar, Kharia, Ho, etc. For more info about them, visit at


Jharkhandi Adivasis immigrants from the states of West Bengal, Orrissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhatisgargh who have left their homeland and families to work for development of the islands and have stayed here for long periods not given proper attention yet. Basically, shy in nature, they have not demanded for much unlike their counterparts migrated from other parts of the country, who have raised their demands and got lots of facilities.





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Adivasi – Tribal India Group, New Delhi ( )




CRPF violating PESA in Jharkhandi Villages


- Operation Green Hunt causing immense suffering & humiliation to the innocent rural folk in Jharkhand -


Clause 4.e.(1) of The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, [PESA] says: "every Gram Sabha shall approve the plans, programmes and projects for social and economic development before such plans, programmes and projects are taken up for implementation . . .;"


Tribal villages are forcibly entered and village people are humiliated: The sad fact is the CRPF forces have barged into several villages in the Districts of Latehar, Palamu, Sareikela-Kharswan, Khunti, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Giridih, East & West Singhbhum and have forcibly occupied these villages. Even after entering the village, they have not had the courtesy to call on the traditional Adivasi leadership such as the munda / manki / pahan / majhi  and explain to them the purpose of their coming. Rather, they go about harassing and humiliating every one in the village regardless of whether they are young children, older men, older women, traditional village heads. They pick up any one at will and take him for 'questioning', and if they don't get the answer they expect, they beat up young and old alike. Beating up includes slapping and beating on any part of the body with lathis or with the butt of the gun.


One can understand when an elder person gives a small beating to a growing child if the latter has done some mischief in view of correcting the child. But when CRPF jawans mercilessly beat up elderly men with lathis and that too in public, it is absolutely humiliating for these men and violates their sense of self-respect and personal dignity. Another innovative punishment CRPF impose on those younger and older men from whom the expected answer did not come is to make them sit in the hot summer sun till evening without water and food. Breaking open houses is common, and there are instances of opening fire inside houses. On 27 April 2010, one woman by name of Jasmintha Devi, w/o Jayaram Singh, in Ladhi village, Barwadih thana, Latehar Dt. was shot dead inside her house as she was sleeping on a cot. Another man by name of Pooran Singh of the same village was shot and wounded also inside his house.


On 30th April, people of the village, led by Bharatiya Adhim Janjathi Parishad, staged a dharna in front of the Dep. Commissioner's office and demanded, among other things, a cash compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each for each of the two victims and investigation of the incident by the CBI. As of date, no action has been taken, neither by the district administration nor by the CRPF authorities.


There have been at least 30 instances of wanton beating up involving about 60 persons in the districts of Kharsawan, Latehar alone. Five instances of forcible snatching of money amounting to about Rs. 60,000 have been reported from these districts. This gives a sufficient indication of the very unsafe situation faced by the rural population of Latehar District.


Women face a greater danger:  CRPF-men barge into houses, kicking open the door regardless of whether the women of the house are with their men folk or alone. They open any thing and take away what they like.


The little cash people have saved are also taken with impunity. Even vessels are taken for use in their camps; some times they are returned, some times not. If women, especially young women, are found in the house without their men folk, it is all the worse for them.


PESA Act, clause 4. (m). (ii) endows the Gram Sabha with "the ownership of minor forest produce".


People cannot collect minor forest produce from their jungles. The situation in the forest villages where CRPF has pitched its tent is such that people, especially women and children, are not allowed to go into the forest. If any one is seen coming out of the forest, he / she is summoned to the camp and asked which Maoist they have met. If they say they have not met any Maoist but went to collect some minor forest produce, they are slapped, beaten up. One may note here that the summer season is when summer fruits such as mangoe, leechi fruits are available in the jungle. But people are not allowed to enter and collect these fruits in peace. This itself is a serious violation of the rights of rural people. And more seriously, a violation of the constitutional privilege of the Gram Sabha.


PESA Act, clause 4. (m). (iv) endows the Gram Sabha with "the power to

manage village markets…"


For the first time in tribal history, the village markets (bazaar) are closing down. The weekly markets which mainly transact business based on minor forest produce are closing down because people are not coming with these goods to the market any more. As such it deals a severe blow to the tribal rural economy. Besides, the weekly markets are not only a place of economic transactions but also provide a homely atmosphere of social & cultural  get-together are being seriously affected. Verily an onslaught on the culture of the Adivasi People. An irreparable damage is being to the economic, social, cultural fabrique of Adivasi society.


PESA Act, clause 4. (m). (vi) endows the Gram Sabha with "the power to exercise control over institutions and functionaries in all social sectors;" Children cannot go to school as the school building are occupied by CRPF As of now, 50 school buildings in the districts mentioned above  have been taken over by CRPF on a permanent basis and 43 school buildings have been taken over on an off-and-on basis.  The Gram Sabha's consent was not even sought. If schools do not function, the mid-day meal also is not given to children. The sad fact is the mid-day meal is the only 'full meal' most children get to eat. Should the children too be kicked in their stomach! An unforgivable act against the poor rural children by the state.


Apart from this is the fact that even if the school is not occupied by the para-military forces, their very presence in the vicinity and their brutal behaviour with people has created a fearful atmosphere in the village preventing children from going to school. In November 2009, the Jharkhand High Court, in response to a petition filed by PUCL-Ranchi, ordered the CRPF to vacate all school buildings within six months. Six months have passed, but the High Court order has not been complied with. On 17 May 2010, CRPF has approached the High Court and asked for an extension of another six months, and apparently the court has agreed!


The point to ponder is what happens to the children who have been deprived of their school education first for six months, now for another six months? Obviously it is not the concern of the govt as to what happens to the education of these village children. At the same time, the same Congress-led govt has brought in the Right to Education bill precisely for this group of 6 to 14 - age children. What a contradiction!


To conclude, the way Operation Green Hunt is being enforced through CRPF as the main agent of implementation is absolutely devastating the peaceful life of people in the villages of Jharkhand. In fact, this war of the govt against its own people will have the opposite effect of strengthening and increasing the Maoist forces because the harassed and humiliated people will not find any other human alternative than join forces with Maoist comrades. Will some better sense prevail on those who hold the reigns of power?


29 May 2010


Note: All the facts mentioned above are collated from the reports of people's movements in the areas occupied by CRPF in Jharkhand state.
Anti-Mittal cry (jal, jungle aur zameen) grows louder in Jharkhand

Residents of over 40 gram panchayat sabhas in Khunti today submitted a memorandum to the industry director, Aradhana Patnaik, protesting against the ArcelorMittal land acquisition bid to set up the Torpa steel plant.


In the memorandum of demands, the villagers vowed to fight "till the end" to safeguard their right over water, forest and land (jal, jungle aur zameen).


The letter was forwarded by the co-ordinator of the Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Dayamani Barla.


The demands included that the state government halt land transfer in Torpa block immediately and that the ryot rights over villages that has been granted to ArcelorMittal is declared null and void.


Citing provisions under the Chhotanagpur Tenanacy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, the residents argued that the villages' tribal communities were the "real owners" of the water, forest and land in the area. Thus, the government had no right to transfer these.


The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, too, upholding the "traditional rights of the tribals" was quoted in the letter.


Instead of setting up new industries in the area, the residents have demanded that waters from Koel, Karo and Chhata be made available to farmers for agriculture.


Copies of the memorandum were also sent to the governor and industry secretary.


On September 14, members of 32 gram sabha had submitted a similar memorandum to Khunti deputy commissioner, while on September 22, yet another was shot off to the Gumla deputy commissioner.


Talking to The Telegraph Barla warned that the seething villagers were getting more and more impatient with the state as they felt that industrialisation was a threat to indigenous culture and values. "We are not going to sit idle," she added.


ArcelorMittal plans to start a 12MT greenfield steel plant in Torpa and Kamdara blocks and needs 8,000 acres for the projects. According to members of Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, several farmers from the 32 villages of Khunti and Gumla would be displaced if the firm goes ahead with its plan.


October 1, 2009 / Telegraph

Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (Cobra) headquarters in Barhi (Hazaribag) and Khunti district

The home department has, finally, made room for the elite Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (Cobra).


Last August, the Centre had given the nod to raise a 10,000-strong special force under the command and control of the CRPF to counter Naxalites primarily in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and other rebel-hit states.


The two battalions sanctioned for the state will be headquartered in Barhi, Hazaribagh, and near Sapphire International School on the Ranchi-Khunti border. The home department has sanctioned 101.50 acres in Barhi block and 85 acres in Khunti district.


Hazaribagh deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey said the land along NH-33 had been lying barren and was, thus, allotted for housing the force. It will also use the Barhi sub-divisional office.


"The land in question was acquired in the Nineties for industrial purposes. But nothing positive moved on that front. The total barren area is about 575 acres. We are using 101.5 acres while the rest can be used for industrial purposes later," he said.


Khunti deputy commissioner Puja Singhal Purwar said the 85-acre stretch along Ranchi-Khunti road was ahead of Sapphire International School and opposite to the deer park.


State home secretary J.B. Tubid said the Cobra would man the Naxalite strongholds of Hazaribagh, Giridih, Koderma, Chatra, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Latehar and Palamau by December 2009. "The headquarters need to be ready as soon as possible."


Headquartered in the national capital, five of the 10 battalions of Cobra are being deployed in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.


Two battalions of more than 1,000 personnel each have already undergone training at the Jungle Warfare Training School in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and in Silchar, Assam. Equipped with 19 different assault weapons and intelligence techniques, they are waiting for their headquarters to get ready.


Over 70 districts in the country are grappling with Left-wing extremism, which has been described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a "virus" and the "biggest internal security threat".


Around 40 Cobra commandos are currently deployed in Lalgarh, Bengal, to counter the CPI (Maoist) offensive.


22 Jun 2009 / The Telegraph


NREGA wage arrears cleared in Khunti

In what is seen as a victory for workers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act here in Jharkhand who had faced hardships because of delayed payment of compensation, as many as 174 of them from 10 villages of Khunti and Murhu blocks have received Rs. 2,000 each under the Payment of Wages Act, the total adding up to Rs. 3.48 lakh.


The payment was ordered by M.A. Haque, Assistant Labour Commissioner, Chotanagpur.


This came at the end of a month-long struggle. A team of student volunteers from Delhi University and elsewhere have been running a "sahayata kendra" (help centre) for NREGA workers here since May 1.


The first problem that came to their attention was that of delayed payments in the district. In most of the villages of Khunti and Murhu blocks that were surveyed, wages had not been paid for weeks, even months. In some cases, the delay added up to years. In the absence of timely payments, rural workers had developed an aversion to the NREGA.


NREGA workers should receive payment within 15 days, failing which they are entitled to compensation under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, of Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 3,000 each.


After the sahayata kendra alerted the district administration to the delays, wages were swiftly paid at many sites, without prejudice to the compensation claims.


The demand for compensation received a boost on June 4 when G. Krishnan, Adviser to the Governor of Jharkhand, sent instructions to Khunti for such payment. The Union Ministry of Rural Development also took a serious view of this matter.


K.K. Soan, the NREGA Commissioner for Jharkhand, and Dr. Haque, the Assistant Labour Commissioner, held a "camp court" in Khunti on June 6 at the sahayata kendra. NREGA workers from Tapinsara, Kota, Chamratoli, Gumpudu, Bududih, Simbukel, Belahathi, Taro Siladon, Chukru and Irud gram panchayats submitted applications for compensation. During this initial hearing, the focus was on cases where the delays were evident from official records, such as muster rolls and payment advices.


The camp court proceedings were swift; compensation was arranged the same day. Further hearings are to be held from June 11.


The Block Programme Officers of the State government explained the cause of the delays. In most cases it was found that the Junior Engineers were responsible for delaying payments by stalling work measurements. Dr. Haque said he would impose penalties on the officers responsible. According to reports reaching here, there is evidence of similar problems elsewhere in Jharkhand, and also in some other States.
The Hindu / 10 June 2009
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) wage payment delay issue has taken-up in Khunti District

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the Union government's flagship poverty alleviation scheme, is in danger of floundering in Jharkhand. Significant delays in the payment of wages to workers were noticed here owing to administrative apathy, a team of researchers who have been following its fortunes in different districts of the State have found.


The team was part of the NREGA Sahayata Kendra, or help centre, in Khunti, set up by researchers associated with the Centre for Development Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, in collaboration with the district administration, to provide assistance to NREGA workers.


A Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan was launched on May 1, International Labour Day, in Khunti district to activate the NREGA in the district. Preliminary field visits in Khunti and Murhu blocks showed there was hardly any NREGA work undertaken in the area and that wages were due to be paid for work done months, in some cases even years, ago.


As part of this Abhiyan, teams of students from Delhi University, Bombay University, Bangalore University and NALSAR Hyderabad surveyed 10 gram panchayats in Khunti and Murhu blocks from May 4 to 10. In these 10 panchayats they found more than 30 worksites where payments were due. These include sites in Jikki (Siladon gram panchayat) and Chikor (Bhandra) where more than 50 workers had not been paid for work done two years ago.


An officer's promise


On May 11, the teams submitted their findings to the Deputy Commissioner. They also presented to her a set of complaints for each panchayat, and a list of sites where payments were due in the 10 panchayats. The officer assured them that action would be taken on all the complaints and all pending payments made by May 18.


On May 20, the teams returned to the panchayats, but the reports from the field were disappointing. In Chikor, for instance, no worker had been paid. In the same panchayat, the team visited Jilinga village where they learnt of three other worksites where payments were due: one pond and two wells, of which one was sanctioned two years ago.


Similar reports were received from the other teams.It was the same story in Murhu block: in Murhu panchayat, labourers were going to collect their wages from the post office, but they had not yet received their job cards from the "munshi".


When Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera, part of the Sahayata Kendra, visited the Murhu block office on May 20 at 10.30 a.m., not one official concerned with NREGA was present. The block programme officers were unable to provide a list of the villages where payments had been made in May, though they had told the Deputy Commissioner that Rs. 12 lakh had been paid.


Professor Dreze and Dr. Khera said they had written to the Department of Rural Development asking for compensation of at least Rs. 1,500, under the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, for each worker whose wages have been delayed. They were also demanding that a fine of Rs. 1,000 be imposed on all the officials responsible, under Section 25 of the NREGA.



The Hindu / 23 May 2009
Adivasi Agriculture and Naxal in the Khunti District of Jharkhand

Khunti is historically known for the centre of activity of the Birsa movement and the greart Jharkhandi leader, Birsa Munda was born in this district.


Majority of the population is Adivasi (tribal) in the Khunti and they are dependent on agriculture and forests for their livelihood. Lack of food security from the land has compelled many Adivasi families to migrate from village. This is despite the fact that the existing landholdings can provide stable livelihoods to the tribal families. Lack of land development, irrigation, credit, access to market etc. acts as serious constraints leading to a large number of tribal families.


The area however is endowed with good rainfall - in most blocks the annual rainfall exceeds 1100 millimetres. There are numerous small rivers, rivulets and streams, which carry water up to the month of February or March. In spite of that, most cultivated lands do not have assurance of water for crops even during the monsoon. Inadequacy of water harvesting infrastructures and water use systems have allowed the rain water to run off through the streams to downstream areas beyond the State, leaving the lands here dry. It has been long argued that ensuring water assurance to crops and improving land husbandry practices could go a long way in improving the livelihoods of poor families and impacting the local economy in rural areas. However, it has also been the experience that timely credit in adequate amount and know-how for improved agriculture are also essential along with water assurance to crops. For water assurance, the large irrigation schemes have not been successful in the district and other parts of Jharkhand.


The area is famous for the Lac cultivation. A large part of the India's total lac production comes from this area. Lac, a natural polymer (resin) is produced by a tiny insect, Kerria lacca (Kerr), which is purposely cultured on shoots of several species of trees, mainly palas, kusum and ber. This agricultural profession of lac cultivation is a subsidiary source of income for a large number of families in the area.


Naxal –


The district of Khunti is Naxal affected and two of its police stations viz., Arki and Raniya are most badly affected. Some parts of Khunti and Murhu police stations are also used by the Naxals for movement. Since, Murhu borders Bandgaon (Chaibasa District.) and has its extent till Arki on the one side and Raniya on the other, this police station is also vulnerable from this point of view.


Apart from the Maoist activities in the Khunti district in Jharkhand, there are two other groups operating in Khunti. One is the Peoples Liberation Front of India (PLFI) and the other is Jaynath Sahu group. These two groups also clash among themselves. Levy collection, extortion and kidnapping for ransom are the main agenda of these groups. However, PLFI is now banned outfit in Jharkhand and is in the list of Naxal organization.


Regular police operations are being conducted in the district. The police have also reached out to the public in general and regular community policing programs are being conducted in the district. Some psychological operations have also been taken up like making the people aware through "nukkad nataks", distribution of pamphlets and distribution of articles like sari, dhoti, blankets, lantern, sports materials and other items.


The district of Khunti has one Company of C.R.P.F (central reserve police force), which is camped at Raniya. Apart from the Maoist activities in the district, there are two other groups operating in Khunti. Regular operations are being conducted in the district.
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