Andaman and Nicobar Police recce North Sentinel island, sight tribals

Members of the Sentinelese tribe killed John Allen Chau when he visited the isolated North Sentinel Island on November 16

Andaman and Nicobar Police recce North Sentinel island, sight tribals

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.

On Wednesday, authorities revealed that John Allen Chau, a 27-year-old American, was killed after he landed on North Sentinel Island after previous attempts to make contact with the tribe, which numbers between 50 to 150 and is protected by law from outside contact to shield them from diseases and protect their way of life.

The director-general of police on the Andaman and Nicobar island groups, Dependera Pathak, said authorities don't want to disturb the culture of the Sentinelese, who live largely as their ancestors did thousands of years ago.

Scholars know nearly nothing about the island, including how many people live there or what language they speak. The fishermen told authorities they saw the Sentinelese bury Chau's his body on the beach.

"If they suggest any methodology to interact without disturbing them then we can draw (up a) strategy", he said.

He was critical of Indian's relaxation of controls over visitors to such islands.

He said the body of Chau "should be left alone as should be the Sentinelese". The police team retreated to avoid any confrontation.

Mr Pathak said: "We have more or less identified the site and the area in general".

In 2006 the Sentinelese people killed two fishermen and placed their bodies on bamboo stakes

Mr Chau had been intending to preach Christianity to the tribespeople and made two approaches to the island before he was killed.

During their visit to the island's surroundings on Friday, investigators spotted four or five North Sentinel islanders moving in the area from a distance of about 1,600 feet from a boat and studied their behavior for several hours, said Pathak.

"We can not go and force our way in".

"The rights and the desires of the Sentinelese need to be respected and nothing is to be achieved by escalating the conflict and tension, and worse, to creat a situation where more harm is caused", they said.

The tribespeople are known to have killed two Indian fisherman in 2006 after their boat drifted onto the shore. Professor Pandit says if the family does not insist on the body being retrieved, it may be best to let things be. "At this stage, we don't have any plan to confront our Sentinelese". She did not know whether it would be possible to recover Chau's body.

There has been no significant contact with the Sentinelese for generations. "We are consulting anthropologists to see what kind of friendly gesture we can make".

In the past, officials and anthropologists made sporadic and limited contact with the islanders by delivering gifts of coconuts and bananas.

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