In the past 10 years, only one confrontational incident has occurred with the Sentinelese in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, where a total population of 50 of the community live, Lok Sabha was informed Tuesday. In response to a question, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir also said that during the past 10 years, 19 confrontational incidents have been reported with Jarawas in the region. The Jarawa tribe has a population of 514 as per latest census.
"The Sentinelese are still in isolation practising primordial hunting and gathering way of life. The government respects their way of lifestyle, therefore, has adopted an 'eyes-on and hands-off' practice to protect and safeguard the Sentinelese tribe," he said. The entire North Sentinel Island along with 5 km coastal sea from high water mark is notified as the tribal reserve, the minister said.
"Apart from the land territory the coastal sea up to the fixed extent of 1 Km to 5 Km abutting the tribal territory has also been notified as a tribal reserve so that marine resources like fish, turtle etc are available exclusively for the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)," he said. The minister said buffer zone notified in 2013, around the Jarawa Tribal Reserve (5km landward side and 1km seaward side), prohibits all commercial / tourism activity in the Buffer Zone.
Joint patrolling by representatives of Police, Forest and Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti (AAJVS) is carried out around Jarawa area to prevent contact of poachers and unscrupulous non-tribal elements with Jarawa tribe, he said. "A Special Police Team (01 SI and 10 PCs) for patrolling at Tirrur, adjacent to the Jarawa Tribal Reserve, has also been deployed. The ships and aircraft of Coast Guard and boats of Marine Police make sorties around North Sentinel to keep surveillance," the minister said.
(With inputs from agencies.)