The district Covid team gone to collect the RTCPR test of the forest-dwelling tribe of Van Rawat returns empty-handed.

GG News Bureau
Pithoragarh,29th May.The district Covid health team that had gone to collect the RTCP test report to determine the presence of any Covid 19 active case among the primitive forest-dwelling Van Rawat who still live in three forest villages under Didi Hat subdivision in Pithoragarh district, had to return empty-handed as the shy tribals fled into the deep forest as soon as they received the health team’s visit said Didihat SDM KN Goswami said.
While we were successful in conducting the tests on the residents of other villages of Aultari and Jamtari, the residents of Kuta Chaurani fled to forests soon as the team reached the village.” said SDM KN Goswami.
The Van Rawat is also known as the Van Raji forest-dwelling tribe was declared as the only primitive tribe Van-Raji tribe is listed amongst the 18 most threatened human groups in India and is on the verge of extinction as declared by the government of India in the year 1967.
“Over 500 members of this tribe, are living in 8 localities of the Didihat subdivision and we have collected the samples from three villages of the community as 191 members agreed for the test while rest fled to village. “said the SDM.
Jagat Singh Rajwar, an elderly member of the community from Kuta village said that the swab used for testing could cause further infection on them. “we are ready to for the health check and consume medicines but do not agree to let the strip enter our body. “said Jagat Singh Rajbar.
According to SDM, his team has persuaded some literate members of the community to aware the people for test. “our team will revisit the village for the test again in two or three days. “said the SDM.
Sanju pant, coordinator of Didihat youth society, said that they have distributed Covid kit to some members of the primitive forest dwelling community after taking them into confidence. “our volunteers have also reported to the administration of poor conditions of the community that works as daily wagers but the lockdown has added to their misery as there is no work available.
“We have requested the administration to distribute the consumer goods other than food material to the tribe here, “said Pant.
The SDM informed that the administration has distributed packets of spices, edible oil and other essential items besides the food that is given to them free of cost.
According to Didihat youth society sources, the community is facing dire shortage of essential goods as their earning has ended due to lockdown. “if their concerns of the community are not addressed they might end, dying of hunger. These tribes neither have government jobs nor agricultural land to till so that they can feed their families. “said Sanju pant.
SDM Didihat has written to the Block development officer of Didihat and district development officer Pithoragarh, provide work to these tribes under MNREGA.
“We are on alert mode and will ensure that none of the members of the tribe dies due to hunger.” said the SDM.
The Van Rawat tribes use the knowledge of traditional medicines in form of herbs found in the forest to cure themselves and are still far away from modern medical practices, which has led to high mortality rates among them thus triggering the extinction of the tribe from the planet.
Mostly, cave-dwellers Van-Rawat mostly dwell in villages of Kumaon Himalayas, while few are found to reside in Western Nepal too.
The number of active Covid cases in the tribe is yet to be ascertained and the details will come out when the testing is done.

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