The Andaman DGP told TNM that after November 23, there have been no more expeditions to North Sentinel Island to recover John Chau’s body.

John Chau intended to stay in North Sentinel Island for a few days Andaman police
news Sentinelese Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 18:43

After American Christian missionary John Chau’s death in the Andamans, the local police have made three trips to the North Setinel Island in an attempt to see if they can recover his body. The 26-year-old was killed on November 17 by the Sentinelese tribe, who have lived on the island for thousands of years and actively shun all outside contact.

During the last expedition undertaken by the Andaman police and Indian Coast Guard, along with two of the fishermen accused of helping John Chau on November 23, the search party spotted tribes-persons standing with bows and arrows on the North Sentinel Island. Speaking to TNM, DGP Dependra Pathak said that they are looking to reconstruct John’s activities from October 16 to November 17. “He had come to the North Sentinel Island with a bag and intended to stay with the Sentinelese for a few days after he made contact,” he said. The police are also investigating if this was a pre-planned job.

So far, the Andaman police has been closely consulting with anthropologists and tribal experts to see if and how it is feasible to be retrieve John’s body from the island. The police have not gone another recce or expedition since November 23.

“We have also given a detailed questionnaire to Anthropological Survey of India and the Department of Tribal Welfare,” DGP Pathak said.

The police has also gotten in contact with Triloknath Pandit, an anthropologist who is credited with making the first friendly contact with the Sentinelese tribe. 

“I spoke to Mr Pandit, he had a few suggestions. We are consulting experts. There are many views on how this can be tackled and once we get a firm view on this from them, we will move ahead. However, we are working on reconstructing John’s itinerary,” the DGP said. He added that they were also looking into John’s earlier visits to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, especially from 2015.

While the police have conducted three expeditions, they have not gone near the North Sentinel Island territory due to the Andaman government’s “eyes on hands off” policy when it comes to the Sentinelese. The tribe, which is believed to have descended from the first African humans, is believed to have been living on the North Sentinel Island for over 60,000 years. The tribe is one of the world’s last uncontacted tribes, and continue to remain in isolation.

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