The journal of John Allen Chau, 26, the American missionary/adventurer who was killed while trying to meet and convert members of an endangered tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar islands of India has been released by his mother.
The Sentinelese people are highly resistant to outsiders and the government tightly restricts visits to the island. An American is believed to have been killed by an isolated Indian island tribe known to fire at outsiders with bows and arrows, Indian police said on November 21, 2018.
Pathak said officials are consulting anthropologists, tribal experts and scholars to figure out a way to recover the body.
No one is certain how many Sentinelese people live on the island, with estimates ranging from just a handful to as many as hundreds. "I feel these decisions were taken hastily without considering the sensitivities that surround the lives of endangered tribes", Dennis Giles, editor, Andaman Chronicle, told ET.
Local fishermen told police they had seen tribe members dragging Chau's body along the beach and burying it.
Since the Indian authorities keep away from the island, it was unclear whether Chau's killing will have legal repercussions.
Officials typically don't travel to the North Sentinel area, where people live as their ancestors did thousands of years ago.
Indian police said a murder case had been registered against "unknown" tribespeople and that the fishermen who allegedly helped Chau get to the island were arrested.
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"The Sentinelese have shown again and again that they want to be left alone, and their wishes should be respected", Survival International said. The Sentinelese, whose numbers have dwindled to near extinction, believe in a primitive life and speak their own language, totally shun modernity and avoid contact with other humans.
In June this year, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes recommended that the government be "ultra-sensitive" to the Particularly Vulnerable Tribes Groups (PVTGs) of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. "Here is some fish!" he said he hollered at them before fleeing. "So much is lost: People are lost, language is lost, their peace is lost".
Any contact with such isolated people can be risky, scholars say, with islanders having no resistance to diseases outsiders carry.
P.C. Joshi, an anthropology professor at Delhi University, said the islanders are at risk of contracting infectious diseases.
Chau said he found the island both inspiring and frightening. "Even minor influences can kill them".
Described as "arguably the most enigmatic people on our planet", by Norwegian geneticist Erika Hagelberg, the wider group of Andaman Islanders, which comprises several distinct tribal groups, was largely isolated until the island chain was turned into a British penal colony in the 19th century. They have also been charged under relevant sections of the Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulations.
London-based Survival International, which defends tribal rights, said that the "tragedy" of the American's death "should never have been allowed to happen".
"The authorities lifted one of the restrictions that had been protecting the Sentinelese tribe's island from foreign tourists, which sent exactly the wrong message, and may have contributed to this bad event", the group said in a statement.
Brief visits have been paid to the island, but the Sentinelese remain untouched by modern civilisation.