The COVID-19 pandemic has reached the Bondas, a tribal community residing in the hill ranges of Malkangiri district in Odisha. Four members of the community have tested positive for COVID-19.
Who are ‘Bondas’?
- Bondas, a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), live in settlements comprising small hutments in the hills of the Khairaput block in Malkangiri district of Odisha.
- They are members of a group of Austroasiatic tribes, they are believed to be part of the first wave of migration out of Africa about 60,000 years ago. They are the first forest settlers in India.
- Their population is around 7,000.
- They are often led to bonded labour through marriage, also known as diosing. A form of dowry (known as Gining) is paid for brides.
What are PVTGs?
- There are certain tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward. They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
- These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development.
- 75 such groups have been identified and categorised as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).