Sunday, November 25, 2018

U.S. citizen trespassed into Sentinelese tribe's Island, killed

Port Blair, Nov 21: "On 19.11.2018, an email was received from US Consulate General, Chennai wherein it was informed that they had received a communication from the mother of Mr. John Chau about her son's visit to North Sentinel Island where he was purportedly attacked. Acting on the information, A&N Police has registered a case vide Cr.No.91/18 dated 20.11.2018 u/s 302/34 IPC at PS Humfrigunj. Further another case at PS Humfrigunj has been registered vide Cr. No. 92/18 dated 20.11.2018 u/s 282/336/304/34 IPC read with sec 7/8 PAT, 1956 in which seven accused persons have been arrested. The investigation in this matter is on", a press release of SP (CID) said.
Sources said, an American citizen-cum-preacher, Mr. John Allen Chau who came here as a tourist in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has reportedly trespassed into North Sentinel Island on Nov. 16, 2018, where he was attacked by bows and arrows, and was later killed by the tribal members of Sentinelese Community.
North Sentinel Island is out of bounds for visitors, and is home to the Sentinelese (aboriginal tribes), who are known to be hostile and resist contact with the outside world and use to remain untouched by modern civilization for thousands of years, believed to be the last pre-Neolithic tribe in the world.
The Indian law protects the Sentinelese people and they cannot be prosecuted. Any contact with them or entry into areas inhabited by them is illegal. In 2017, the government had clarified that the Sentinelese are identified as an "aboriginal tribe". Recording their videos as well as uploading their videos on social media or the internet is prohibited.
However, the Andaman and Nicobar Administration is taking all possible precautions to retrieve the body of American National Mr. John Allen Chau, 27 years.

Who are the Sentinelese?

Who are they?
The Sentinelese, a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans, have not faced incursions and remain hostile to outsiders. The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities, researchers say. Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago. Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.
How are they protected?
The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation. Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties. But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.
Have they made contact?
The Sentinelese have been fiercely hostile to outside contact. But in 1991 they accepted some coconuts from a team of Indian anthropologists and administrators.
Some researchers argue that the Sentinelese have been mostly left alone even from colonial times, unlike other tribes such as the Onges, Jarawas and Great Andamanese, because the land they occupy has little commercial attraction.
How many are there?
From 1901 to 1921 they were estimated to be 117 people. In 1931, the number dropped to 50, a figure used for the 1961 Census too. In 1991 their head count was put at 23. Census 2001 counted 39 inhabitants.

Social Work-Force in A&N Islands

The entire Andaman and Nicobar Islands population has already seen the significant role(s) played by Social Workers and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) during post-Tsunami operations.  More than hundreds of NGOs from various part of world have visited here and established their camp office for community work for the affected population of ANI.  We all know that the problems of the individuals who stay in temporary and short stay homes are diverse in nature.  For the migrant and disaster affected, the needs of providing immediate basic  needs,  counseling to recover from the trauma and shock caused due to the tragedy, provision of legal aid, initiation of rehabilitation efforts and linking up with government agencies and other NGOs is important.  Many NGOs in India provide community services.  Some of them specialize in a single activity e.g. health, education while others provide multiple services.  Most of them have Social Workers working for them. They identify the felt needs of the people, organizing awareness programmes, mobilizing people, identifying leaders, setting priorities, suggesting alternative means to solve the problems, implementing programmes  and evaluating them.
Social work seeks to assist individuals, groups and communities to reach the highest possible degree of social, mental and physical well-being.  It operates in consideration of all social, economic and psychological factors that influence the life of the individual, the family, the social group, and the community.   Social work is the professional activity of helping individuals, families, groups, or communities enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning or creating societal conditions favorable to that goal. It is applied science of helping people achieve an effective level of psychological functioning and effecting social changes to enhance the well-being of all people. The fundamental purposes of social work are: to help people improve their social functioning; and to create social conditions that will enhance the well-being of people and prevent problems in social functioning.
Skills of Social Worker
Social work practice has focused on meeting human needs and developing human potential.  Human rights and social justice serve as the motivation and justification for social work action.  In solidarity with those who are disadvantaged, the profession strives to promote the vulnerable and oppressed towards their social inclusion.  The Social Workers handle Case work, Group work and Community work.  They have following skills:
* Listen to others with understanding and purpose
* Elicit information and assemble relevant facts to prepare a social history, assessment and report
* Create and maintain a professional helping relationship
* Observe and interpret verbal and non-verbal behavior
* Engage clients to resolve their problems and gain trust
* Discuss sensitive and emotional subjects supportively  and without being threatening
* Create innovative solutions to client needs
*  Conduct the need to terminate the therapeutic relationship
* Mediate and negotiate between conflicting situations
* Provide inter-organizational liaison services
* Interpret and communicate social needs to funding sources, public and state
The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being.  Utilizing theories of human behavior and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments.   Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.  Its various forms address the multiple, complex transactions between people and their environments.  Its mission is to enable all people to develop their full potential, enrich their lives, and prevent dysfunction.  Professional social work is focused on problem solving and change.  As such social workers are change agents in society and in the lives of the individuals, families and communities they serve.   Social work recognizes the complexity of interactions between human beings and their environment, and the capacity of people both to be affected by and to alter the multiple influences upon them including bio-psycho-social factors.
Need of Social Work Education
Both Central and State Governments, and NGOs witness acute shortage of trained social workers at middle and lower levels (some even as Para-professional) for appointment, particularly in rural areas.  With the expansion of social development concerns, globalization, advanced media technology, there is an urgent need for specially trained personnel to organize and manage social development programmes and to meet the challenges posed by the fact changing social scenario.  Several states and union territories – particularly, the North-Eastern States and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have hardly any institution for training social workers.  The social service and rural / urban / tribal dev elopement sectors in these states have been adversely affected due to dearth of trained professionals.   There is dearth of trained employees with most of the NGOs.   Further, there is a strong indication that the NGOs are very much eager to have the programme of study in social work for their in-service personnel.
The Regional Centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was established at Port Blair city after the Tsunami,   as post-Tsunami development action.  Being so, the university started offering  its Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programmes through its network of study centers across the length & breath of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  Through this attempt,  over 100 students  have got educated in the field of social work. Thus, a significant improvement in the situation of availability of trained man power (work force for social work) for the administration. 
The social work education (MSW / BSW) covers: Social work intervention - with individuals & groups / communities & institutions; family life education; HIV / AIDS: stigma, discrimination and prevention education; Substance Abuse and Counseling; working with individuals / groups; social psychology; community organizations management for community development etc.  The application of theoretical knowledge into practice, through field work, is an integral part of every year curriculum.  The compulsory component of 25 full days of field work per year (a total of 75 days in 3-years study) gives hands-on training - cum - exposure to BSW students.  Similarly, the 45 days of field work per year (a total of 90 days in 2-year study) in MSW moulds the student to become professional social worker.
Job Opportunities for Social Workers
The social welfare boards, social welfare commission, human rights commission, tribal development / research centres, NGOs, self- help groups, women empowerment centres, legal assistance providers (RTI / PIL), rehabilitation centres, jails, educational institutions, anthropology departments, hospitals, AIDS society, Red Cross society, project sites, disaster management units etc. are having potential opportunities for qualified social workers.  The corporate sectors, banks, private or public sector organizations also spend lot of money towards their social responsibility programmes / activities;  wherein the need of professionally educated social workers are on growing demand.  Every government office in  ANI need to have few trained social workers to handle tribal population of islands.   The special human touch of social worker (posted in Govt. offices) handling tribal people of islands will definitely improve the government services to the tribals.  Let us all try to develop the under-privileged population of our islands through social workers.
(The author is Regional Director of IGNOU Regional Centre at Port Blair and can be reached at  or 8900936718)