Andaman Police Face-off With Sentinelese Tribe As They Struggle To Recover Slain Missionary’s Body
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Andaman Police Face-off With Sentinelese Tribe As They Struggle To Recover Slain Missionary’s Body

Police have had a nervous face-off with the tribe that killed an American missionary as they struggle to recover his body while avoiding disruption.

 

Andaman and Nicobar DGP, Dependra Pathak wrote on Twitter that handling the North Sentinel Island case is turning out to be the “most-challenging ever”.

HIGHLIGHTS

1. John Allen Chau ventured into the Andaman island wanting to convert the tribe to Christianity

2. The reclusive Sentinelese tribe killed Chau by shooting arrows at him

3. The tribals have buried Chau’s body on the shores of the island

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police’s latest attempt at recovering an American national’s body from the North Sentinel Island, met with failure after the reclusive Sentinelese tribe drove away the officers, said a report.

Andaman and Nicobar DGP, Dependra Pathak wrote on Twitter that handling the North Sentinel Island case is turning out to be the “most-challenging ever”.

Pathak told news agency AFP that when the police boat was about 400 metres away from the shores of the island, they could spot armed Sentinelese men standing guarded.

Pathak said, using their binoculars, they could see the tribal men standing at the same spot where 27-year-old American national John Allen Chau had disappeared weeks ago. Chau was most probably killed on November 17 when he ignored the tribe’s attempts at fending him off and he continued to walk straight towards the tribals.

The Sentinelese are among one of the few remaining uncontacted tribes of the world and the Indian government prevents both natives and foreigners from approaching them in any way.

The seven fishermen who took Chau to the island, had last seen the American missionary being attacked with arrows and then being buried on the beach. Even nine days since his death, the body is yet to be recovered from the island as the authorities are weary of confronting the isolated tribe.

The Sentinelese normally attacks any outsider who approaches them. A similar incident was last reported in 2006 when two fishermen had strayed into the island and were killed by the tribe.

The local authorities are now trying to understand the behaviour pattern of the Andaman tribe to find ways to retrieve the body. However, according to the AFP report, anthropologists have said that it may be impossible to recover Chau’s body.

On Sunday, Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh expressed grief at Chau’s death but also clarified the Indian government’s stand that doesn’t allow anyone to visit the uncontacted tribe North Sentinel Island.

Singh told news agency ANI, “We have had such incidents earlier as well, which is why the government had a policy that nobody should go there. It’s a separate tribal group, they do not want outsiders. It is a very sad incident.”

Also Read | Who Are The Sentinelese In Andaman Island?