Great Nicobar’s Shompen tribe votes for first time in general election | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Great Nicobar’s Shompen tribe votes for first time in general election

May 01, 2024 06:57 PM IST

According to the ECI, in the elections to the last 11 state legislative assemblies, there were around 900,000 eligible voters from 14 PVTG communities

New Delhi: The members of the Shompen tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTGs) from the Great Nicobar Islands exercised their votes for the first time in Lok Sabha polls in the Union territory on April 19, said the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Members of Shompen tribe cast votes for the first time in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on April 19 (PTI Photo)
Members of Shompen tribe cast votes for the first time in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on April 19 (PTI Photo)

The ECI in the last two years has made efforts for the inclusion of PVTG communities and other tribal groups for their enrolment as voters and also participation in the voting process in various states/Union Territories in phase 1 and phase 2 of the general election 2024 at polling stations, the election body said.

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“India has an 8.6% tribal population which includes 75 groups of tribals which are PVTGs. The location of new polling booths in previously inaccessible areas has led to the large-scale inclusion of PVTGs,” it said.

According to the ECI, in last 11 state legislative elections, there were around 900,000 eligible voters from 14 PVTG communities namely Kamar, Bhunjia, Baiga, Pahadi Korwa, Abujhmadia, Birhor, Sahariya, Bhariya, Chenchu, Kolam, Thoti, Kondareddy, Jenu Kuruba and Koraga.

The election body said that the commission’s special efforts ensured 100% enrolment of PVTGs under the leadership of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, emphasizing outreach and intervention to enrol and empower PVTGs. 

The total number of voters in the UT is 3,15148, which includes 1,64,012 males, 1,51,132 females and four voters in the third gender category. The voters include 39 Great Andamanese tribes of Strait Islands, 68 Onge tribes at Hut Bay and 98 Shompen tribes of Great Nicobar Island.

An election official had earlier said that nearly 91% of voting took place at Dugong Creek (little Andaman tehsil of South Andaman district), where Onge primate tribes live (it is a reserved forest area) while Strait Island, which is an exclusively restricted area for the Great Andamanese tribe, witnessed 100% voting.

A total of 12 candidates, including two women and five independents will contest for the lone Lok Sabha seat in 412 polling stations.

The initial two phases of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections have concluded. The first phase took place on April 19, followed by the second phase on April 26. The third phase is scheduled for May 7. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

(with PTI inputs)

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