Calls to leave American missionary's body on tribe's island

Andaman Indian Archipelago

"India's National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), under the chairmanship of Dr Nand Kumar Sai, on Wednesday, reviewed the reports submitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Andaman and Nicobar islands" administration on the killing of an American national by the aboriginal Sentinelese Tribe on an island where there are restrictions on the entry of outsiders. NCST had earlier written to the home ministry on August 8, 2018, seeking reimposition of Restricted Area Permit (RAP) restrictions on the ground that it would endanger primitive tribes occupying almost 10 of the 29 islands.

At the meeting, NCST chairman Nand Kumar Sai said, "Aggressive steps to recover the body of the USA national will adversely disturb the peace and tranquility in the island".

According to the government, 44 incidents of violation of rules and regulations, other than RAP, by foreigners have taken place in the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the recent past.

Home ministry maintains that its doing away with restricted area permits for foreigners to visit North Sentinel Island had nothing to do with the killing of Chau, as he had flouted stricter restrictions under the Protection of Aboriginal Tribes (Protection) law and the Indian Forests Act and also failed to report his stay in Andamans to the local FRRO.

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Fishermen told police that Chau had visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands five times earlier. The official said the North Sentinel Island is a prohibited zone and Chau had gone there illegally.

On November 17 morning, they saw a dead person being buried at the shore which from the silhouette of the body, clothing and circumstances appeared to be the body of Chau, the police said.

The fishermen and others who had assisted Chau were later arrested by the police. Police say that when two Indian fishermen were killed by the tribe in 2006 after their boat drifted ashore, the tribe had hooked their bodies on bamboo stakes facing out to sea. The entire North Sentinel Island, which measures 59.67 including the coastal area extending up to 5k m from the high water mark, has been declared a Tribal Reserve.

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