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Tribal Ministry Mulling Ways to Contact Sentinelese Tribe in Andamans

The Union Tribal Affairs Ministry is now giving serious thought on how to contact the Sentinelese and to know about their condition, for the latest census, without venturing into their territory

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:June 1, 2017, 4:03 PM IST
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Tribal Ministry Mulling Ways to Contact Sentinelese Tribe in Andamans
Representative Image. (Photo credit: Reuters/ Adrees Latif)
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New Delhi: Very little is known about the Sentinelese tribe of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. How they live? What they eat? How many of them are there? These questions still remain unanswered.

The Union Tribal Affairs Ministry is now giving serious thought on how to contact the Sentinelese and to know about their condition, for the latest census, without venturing into their territory.​

Speaking Exclusively to News18, Union Tribal Minister Jual Oram said, “The exact population of the Sentinelese is not known. The 2011 Census recorded only 15 individuals including 12 males and three females. But that too was conducted from a safe distance. The conclusion is – till today it is not yet clear that how many of them are alive. We need to do something otherwise they will become extinct one day.”

“We are planning to chalk out some plan on how to know more about this uncontacted tribe without intruding into their privacy. They do not like people from outside world. It is a difficult task and we are mulling over on how to go about it. We are in touch with experts on this issue”.

“Other tribes like the Jarawa, Onge, Shompen beside others are under our welfare schemes and very much in contact with our few tribal department experts. But making contact with the Sentinelese still remains a challenge. Presently, we have ‘eyes-on and hands-off’ policy for Sentinelese to ensure that no poachers enter into the island. A protocol of circumnavigation of the North Sentinel Island has been made for their safety,” he said.

As per record, no people on earth remain as isolated as the Sentinelese

“I am planning to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands and will have extensive meetings with the tribal department to discuss the issue,” he added.

The Sentinelese are designated as a Scheduled Tribe. As per record, no people on earth remain as isolated as the Sentinelese. They are among the last people to remain untouched and uncontacted by modern civilization.

The Sentinelese are thought to be directly descendants from the first human population to emerge from Africa, and have probably lived in the Andaman Islands for up to 55,000 years. They resist with bows and arrows when someone from their outside world try and contact them at the Sentinel Island, spread across 14,700 acres.

Known for their hunting skills and predictions of natural disasters, the Sentinelese are vulnerable to attacks from Burmese poachers who often venture into Indian seas for corals, sea sponges and Padauk wood.

| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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