NCST annoyed for not re imposing Restrictions Area Permit

North Sentinel Island

National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has, expressed its annoyance for not re imposing Restrictions Area Permit related rules in tribal dominated islands of Andaman and Nicobar.

Dr. Nand Kumar Sai, Chairperson of NCST has written a letter to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking re-imposition of Restricted Area Permit regime in six Islands in Andaman and Nicobar inhabited by Andamanese, Jarawas, Sentinelese, Onges and Sompens.

According to a press release, the Commission has regretted that inspite of reservations expressed for excluding 29 inhabited islands in Andaman and Nicobar from Restricted Area Permit regime, the Ministry of Home Affairs on 17th September have further relaxed the provisions by deleting the requirement of mandatory registration by foreigners visiting A&N Islands with FRO and added Viper Island to the list of islands already exempted by its circular dated 29th June, 2018.

The Commission is of the view that the above directives of the Ministry of Home Affairs are not in consonance with the spirit of Article 338A (9) of the Constitution of India which mandates that “Union and every State Government should consult the Commission on all major policy matters affecting Scheduled Tribes.”

In the recent times, the Commission was alarmed by a news report on alleged killing of John Chau, an US National in the North Sentinel Island in Andaman. The Commission held a meeting with Additional Secretary (UT) on 28th November, 2018 to discuss the above issue at New Delhi. Further, the Full Commission visited Andaman Islands from 4th to 6th December and held discussions with Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Director of Anthropological Survey of India, IG Coast Guards and other local stake holders such as Fishermen’s Associations, Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industries, NGOs and Civil Society members at Port Blair.

The Commission also met the Lieutenant Governor at Raj Niwas and discussed the issues. Commission also visited the Jarawa region in South Andaman and interacted with Jarawas with assistance from volunteers from Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti (AAJVS) and interacted with police personnel deployed at Jirkatang check gate.