The Andaman Police are investigating the possible role of two United States missionaries in encouraging John Allen Chau, who was killed by group of indigenous Sentinelese, to visit the North Sentinel island illegally, AFP reported on Sunday. Dependra Pathak, head of police in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, told the news agency that they found out about the missionaries through Chau’s phone records.
“We are investigating the role of at least two Americans, a man and a woman, who met with the man who went to the island,” Pathak said. “These other two, who have since left the country, were reportedly into evangelical activities and encouraged him to visit the island.”
Pathak also said that the authorities have not been able to spot Chau’s body during their three reconnaissance trips near the island. “We may go there again, if needed, to get a clearer picture of the sequence of events leading to the incident,” said Pathak, while adding that it is unlikely that the Sentinelese will exhume Chau’s body as they have buried it.
On Tuesday, reports said the authorities had decided to suspend expeditions to retrieve his body.
Last week, Survival International, a movement for indigenous groups, had asked the government to terminate efforts to recover Chau’s body. Any attempt to recover the body is dangerous for the Indian personnel and for the Sentinelese, who risk “being wiped out if any outside diseases are introduced”, said the organisation’s director Stephen Corry.
A group of anthropologists, researchers, authors and editors has also issued a joint statement urging the government and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration to call off efforts to retrieve Chau’s body.
It is forbidden by law for strangers to enter the North Sentinel Island. So far, the police have arrested several fishermen who helped ferry Chau to the island