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Shompen Tribe Casts Historic Votes in Andaman and Nicobar Elections

On a momentous occasion, members of the Shompen tribe, one of India’s Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), exercised their democratic right for the first time by casting votes in the Andaman and Nicobar Lok Sabha constituency elections. This significant event marks a milestone for the indigenous community residing in the dense tropical rainforests of the Great Nicobar island.

Shompen Participation and Voter Turnout

According to the Chief Electoral Officer of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, B.S. Jaglan, seven members of the Shompen tribe participated in the election process by casting their votes. The Shompen population, as per the 2011 Census data, stands at an estimated 229 individuals.

The overall voter turnout in the Andaman and Nicobar Lok Sabha constituency was recorded at 63.99%, slightly lower than the 65.09% turnout witnessed in the 2019 elections.

Accommodating Late Voters

Manikya Rao Yadhav, the president of the Andamans unit of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), stated that due to the need to accommodate late-arriving voters, polling was extended beyond the scheduled time. This flexibility ensured that every eligible voter had the opportunity to exercise their democratic right.

Significance of Shompen Participation

The participation of the Shompen tribe in the electoral process holds profound significance. It represents the integration of one of India’s most vulnerable tribal groups into the democratic fabric of the nation. This development highlights the ongoing efforts to empower and include marginalized communities in the decision-making processes that shape their future.

As the Shompen community embarks on this new chapter of political engagement, it is crucial to ensure their voices are heard and their unique perspectives are valued. Their participation not only strengthens the democratic process but also promotes inclusivity and acknowledges the rich cultural diversity that defines the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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