End The Operation To Recover Missionary’s Body: Activists And Anthropologists Stand For Rights Of Sentinelese

End The Operation To Recover Missionary’s Body: Activists And Anthropologists Stand For Rights Of SentineleseThe American missionary John Allen Chau. (pic via Twitter)

Anthropologists, writers and international activists have come together to demand that the Andaman & Nicobar Islands’ administration halt its efforts to recover the body of slain American missionary, John Allen Chau, from the North Sentinel Island, reports The New Indian Express. They’ve called for the Sentinelese to be left alone so as to avoid any further harm to the isolated community.

A joint statement was issued by a number of authors and anthropologists, including Pankaj Sekhsaria, member of Environmentalist NGO Kalpavriksh and author of ‘Islands in Flux – the Andaman and Nicobar Story’; Vishvajit Pandya, anthropologist and author; Manish Chandi, senior researcher; Denis Giles editor of the Andaman Chronicle, among other notable names, expressing their concern and worry over continued rescue efforts.

“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 creating a situation where more harm is caused,” said the statement.

Survival International, an international human rights NGO, also attempted to dissuade the administration from pursuing the rescue efforts. Its director, Stephen Corry, urged authorities to abandon its rescue operation, warning that such an attempt could further threaten the Sentinelese by the introduction of diseases, while simultaneously putting the lives of officials in danger.

The NGO also asked for Indian authorities to revoke the diluting of restrictions on visiting the North Sentinel Island, and also for the exclusion zone surrounding the island to be enforced properly.

Also read: The Long And Inglorious History Of Proselytising By Christian Missionaries In Andaman And Nicobar Islands