Threat from Co Co Island and Jarwa

Kinsuk Pallab Biswas

Whether over protection is back firing in Andaman & Nicobar Island is question among the people of the Island. In the total area of 8249 sq KM of the island population as per 2001 census was 356152 where population in 2011 was 380582 , which is nearly 7 % growth .

Ironically in Nicobar area population has decreases from 42068 in 2001 to 36842 in 2011 census. Local people apprehended that loss of life in 2004 Tsunami and going outside for higher education and job from the car Nicobar  might be a reason .

Probably most of us do not know that no Indian can visit car Nicobar  without permission from the village captain of that island . Be he/ she is a tourist or a business man . But the Christian monk can easily visit this island with their connection with the church and village captain.

It is learned that more than 2000 years ago genetically and culturally natives of Andaman were isolated because of natural cause.

During this long separation, the Andamanese have diversified into distinct linguistic, cultural and territorial groups. The Nicobar Islands appear to have been populated by people of various backgrounds.

Raja Rajendra Chola I ( 1014-1042 CE) one of the Tamil Chola Dynasty kings dominated  Andaman and Nicobar Islands to use them as a strategic naval base to launch a naval expedition based on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia).He succeeded his father in 1014

Colonial period

The history of organised European colonization on the islands began when the Danish settlers of the Danish East India Company arrived in the Nicobar Islands on 12 December 1755.

On 1 January 1756, the Nicobar Islands were made a Danish colony, first named New Denmark and later (December 1756) Frederick’s Islands (Frederiksøerne). During 1754–1756 they were administrated from Tranquebar (in continental Danish India).

(Tharangambadi (formerly Tranquebar) is a panchayat town in Nagapattinam district )The islands were repeatedly abandoned due to outbreaks of malaria between 14 April 1759 and 19 August 1768,

From 1 June 1778 to 1784, Austria mistakenly assumed that Denmark had abandoned its claims to the Nicobar Islands and attempted to establish a colony on them renaming those Theresa Islands.

In 1789 the British set up a naval base and penal colony on Chatham Island next to Great Andaman, where now lies the town of Port Blair. Two years later the colony was moved to Port Cornwallis on Great Andaman. It was abandoned in 1796 due to disease.


Denmark’s presence in the territory ended formally on 16 October 1868 when it sold the rights to the Nicobar Islands to Britain, which made them part of British India in 1869.

British  established a colony at Port Blair, which proved to be more permanent. The primary purpose was to set up a penal colony for dissident and independence fighters from the Indian subcontinent. The colony came to include the infamous Cellular Jail.

In 1872 the Andaman and Nicobar islands were united under a single chief commissioner at Port Blair

570 island makes Andaman & Nicobar, Port Blair as the capital.

Geographically Co Co Island is under Andaman & Nicobar conglomeration but now it is under China military. Co Co island  is only 20 km or 12 nautical mile from North Andaman .

In 2003, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandez told the BBC that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had ‘donated’ the Coco Islands to Burma in the 1950s, and thus surrendered a vital strategic asset.

The Coco Islands are two islands in the northeastern Indian Ocean. They are part of Yangon Region of Burma. They are allegedly leased to the People’s Republic of China since 1994. Both the government of Burma and the People’s Republic of China do not comment on this issue, while many members of the Burmese military categorically deny any agreement at all.

It is a known fact that trespassers from Myanmar are regularly coming for forest wood mainly a tree (Pterocarpus dalbergioides) of the Andaman Islands with reddish or red-brown wood like mahogany.  The wood of the Andaman padauk tree. Loot and theft of salt water crocodiles. A full grown crocodile is weighing more than 500 kg .Crocodile fat, alligator oil or crocodile/alligator oil is a lipid substance deriving from the bodies of the crocodilian family of reptiles. Since the beginning of commercial alligator farming in the USA, Australia, South Africa and South East Asia, crocodile fat became a commercial product that can be used in a number of way, including medicine and as a feedstock for biodiesel more over for skin.

Settlers  Alleged that in “ Maya Bandar “ people of mongoloid features do stay and they have their origin from Burma ( Myanmar ) and people from Myanmar occasionally keep visiting to their relatives in these island . It is also alleged that   Mayabandar is one of the center for giving shelter of poaching and loot of Paddauk tree .

Fear of the settlers  is that our enemies in disguise of relatives are coming regularly through dungi ( One type of Boat ) through sea to get the information. In all the island there is a fear that Chinese agents are using our territory. In the recent past our defense personnel could locate a high power radar in one of the island.

In the Andaman island our government has built a 300 KM long National high way . Number of that high way is   223 which are commonly known as ATR or Andaman Trunk Road. Out of which around 80 KM is in Jarawa area where as per latest census only 341 Jarawas are living.

“The Supreme Court cleared the decks for opening the Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road to tourists going to the Limestone Cave on the island. The trunk road remained a prohibited zone. Taking note of the island administration’s notification to protect the interests of Jarawa tribes, a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi, H.L. Gokhale and Ms. Ranjana Desai disposing it as ineffective a special leave petition on banning all kinds of tourist and commercial activities in Andaman and Nicobar.

Because of these restriction Locals (settled/rehabilitated persons after partition) are facing problem for their daily livelihood because of interpretation. Shops, daily bazaar / hat is also restricted . Locals Fear they might be relocated to another area or to other parts of India.

To protect Jarawas International pressure is mounting on. It is learned that none other than UPA chairperson wrote a letter to L G to ensure  Jarawa  protection . Locals complain, for a few dishonest people and High Officials having no geographical knowledge, the settled people are in trouble.

They are demanding a suitable committee to be formed and survey the threats of the area from outside Island  as well as the wellbeing of the Jarawas and ascertain concrete steps to be taken .

A vast area of the island (Mainly Nicobar) is presently out of bound for Indian people and if the ATR is also restricted for Indian people and settlers the total area will be in the hand of the trespassers (from China & Myanmar) and we may lose an area which is strategically very important which was then understood by Raja Rajendra Chola roughly thousands of year back.

The  local settled Indians believe protecting Jarwas is a responsibility of the Nation and they should be protected with kind considerations of the present inhabitants situation without compromising on India’s maritime security in the Hind Mahasagar/ I O R..

The Locals ask can Mile after Miles be guarded by government machinery only?

Government should come forward and bring about a plan considering present threat from CoCo Island and more importantly to safeguard the heritage of Jarwa we should make out our plan accordingly, not blindly bow to the unnecessarily created international pressure.
(Author presently doing management & Placement consultancy . He is attached with Hindusthan Samachar ( Multilingual News Agency ) since his college days . Founder member of Bhagini Nibedita Sewa Bharati & Citizens for Justice )



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