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US missionary’s body could be lost in battle to preserve isolated tribe

PORT BLAIR: The physique of American missionary-adventurer John Allen Chau might by no means be recovered from the misplaced island the place he fell in a volley of arrows fired by a reclusive tribe whose existence is threatened by the trendy world, say consultants.

The menace to the Sentinelese from Chau’s one-man invasion is such that tribal rights specialists say no homicide prices will ever be laid and Chau’s physique should keep hidden to guard what might be the world’s final pre-neolithic tribe.

Indian authorities—who don’t dare implement their rule over North Sentinel island—haven’t even tried to ship police ashore to query the tribe who’ve been greeting outsiders with hostility for hundreds of years.

Police despatched a ship close to North Sentinel for the second time for the reason that killing on Friday.

“Due precautions have been taken by the staff to make sure that this significantly susceptible tribal group should not disturbed and distressed throughout this train,” mentioned a police assertion.

Fears that 21st century illnesses as gentle because the frequent chilly may kill off the tribe, or that experiencing electrical energy and the web would devastate their life-style, has left them in a guarded bubble that Chau sought to burst along with his “Jesus loves you” message.

The American died final week after making a number of makes an attempt to succeed in the Sentinelese to evangelise Christianity—realizing it was unlawful to go inside three miles (5 kilometres) of the island.


Pankaj Sekhsaria, a tribal rights knowledgeable and creator on the Andaman and Nicobar islands, mentioned it could be “a futile train” to attempt to retrieve ChaU’s physique.

“I don’t assume it’s a good suggestion to go anyplace close to (North Sentinel) as a result of it’ll create battle with the neighborhood there,” he advised AFP.

“I don’t consider there may be any secure solution to retrieve the physique with out placing each the Sentinelese and people making an attempt it in danger,” added Sophie Grig, senior researcher for Survival Worldwide which campaigns for such remoted teams.

Anup Kapoor, an anthropology professor on the College of Delhi, mentioned that anybody eager to open a dialogue with the Sentinelese needed to present they have been “on the identical degree.”

“Don’t put on something,” he beneficial. “Solely then you possibly can hope to have some kind of interplay.”

Kapoor as soon as had contacts with the Onge, one other Andamans tribe, including: “It was solely after I took off my garments, besides my underwear.”

The lack of awareness of the Sentinelese, believed to be the final surviving descendants of the primary people to reach in Asia—and who 13th century adventurer Marco Polo referred to as “brutish and savage”—is the primary handicap.

“Now we have no clue about their communication programs, their historical past and tradition, how can we go anyplace close to them,” mentioned Kapoor.

“What we all know is that they’ve been killed and persecuted traditionally by the British and the Japanese. They hate anybody in uniform. In the event that they see somebody in uniform, they may kill him on the spot.

“Allow them to be the best way they’re. Depart them in peace within the ecosystem they’re in. Don’t disturb them as a result of that can solely make them extra aggressive.”


Police within the Indian Ocean paradise at the moment are wrestling with a double dilemma: methods to reply the prayers of Chau’s household and keep the privateness round North Sentinel that’s important for the tribe’s survival.

Andamans police chief Dependra Pathak has mentioned no timeline could be given for locating a physique.

And Sekhsaria warned Indian authorities might now need to strengthen surveillance round North Sentinel to stop a Chau copycat.

“The administration is seized of the matter, they’re already serious about the surveillance,” he mentioned with out giving element.

Indian outsiders have had a tough reception when going to North Sentinel. Arrows have been fired at a helicopter that checked on the tribe after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Two fishermen who strayed too shut in 2006 have been killed.

Police are speaking with anthropologists and tribal welfare consultants about one of the simplest ways to ascertain contact.

The Anthropological Survey of India has had earlier rudimentary contact.

“After we went there, nothing occurred,” mentioned the survey’s Andaman chief C. Raghu. “Our seniors visited the island and so they got here again. It’s as a result of we’re consultants and know the heartbeat of the folks.

“It’s not simply the danger of illness. You even have to think about methods to deal with your self, what to say and what to share with them. To them, whoever will get there may be from the skin, new world.”

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