Big question over recovery of body, nabbing culprits
Kolkata, Nov 22: The killing of John Allen Chau (27) in Andaman’s North Sentinel Island have revealed that the American missionary was held hostage for two days deep inside the forest before being brutally executed and buried by the Sentinelese tribe on November 17. Indian police and coastguard services are now in a quandary how to identify and arrest those responsible for the crime as the culprits belong to a group of people marked as members of a rare paleolithic tribe who live in isolation and are probably not aware of the laws laid down by the Indian Constitution or the repercussions of their act.
A surveillance sortie of the Indian Coast Guard with senior officers held an aerial recce of the North Sentinel Island to plan the recovery of John’s body on November 20.
“Help from Forest and Tribal Welfare departments is being taken to plan and strategize the recovery of the body keeping in view the sensitivity of uncontacted groups of people, and the framework of law and procedure. Further investigations are on,” the DGP conveyed.
Chau and his five friends — Saw Jampo, his sons Saw Watson and Saw Molian, his brother Saw Taray and M. Bhumi, all residents of Karmatang in middle Andaman — left on November 14, for North Sentinel Island in a motorized dinghy at 8 pm. Chau chose to travel at night to avoid round-the-clock air and sea surveillance by the Coast Guard and Navy.
“They reached near the North Sentinel Island along with the accompanying fishermen around midnight. At 4:30 am on November 15, he landed on the western shore, making the last leg of the journey in his kayak,” revealed Andaman & Nicobar Islands DGP Dependra Pathak.
“After reaching North Sentinel Island, Chau tried to contact the local tribesmen and offered some gifts such as a small football, playing ring, fishing line, scissors, medical kit etc. During his attempts to befriend the Sentinelese, he was shot with an arrow by an unknown person. He was last seen alive by the accompanying fishermen on November 16,” the DGP said.
“On November 17, 2018, around 6:30 am, John’s fishermen friends (who were waiting in the dinghy at a distance) saw a dead body being dragged and buried by unknown persons near the shore. From the silhouette of the body, clothing and circumstances, it appeared to be the body of John Allen Chau to them. On their return to Port Blair, they narrated the incident to John’s friend Alexander (28), an electronic engineer by profession and a resident of Dairy Farm. It was Alexander who got him (John) to meet one Saw Jampo, fisherman and one Saw Remmis who arranged his trip to North Sentinel Islands for missionary activities. Alexander and Remmis had stayed back and the rest had left for North Sentinel Island on November 14,” Pathak further said.
“Alexander immediately informed the police and on the basis of the statement of accompanying fisherman, M. Bhumi, a case vide Cr.No.91/18 dated 20.11.2018 u/s 302/34 IPC has been registered at PS Humfrygunj. The fishermen also and handed us 13 pages of the journal written by John Allen Chau. Alexander, in turn, informed Bobby Parks, a friend of John Allen Chau, in USA, who in turn informed John Allen Chau’s mother. On November 19, an e-mail was received from David N. Roberts, Vice Consul, American Citizen Services, US Consulate General in Chennai. He stated that the US Consulate General has received a communication from the mother of one Mr. John Allen Chau, citizen of United States of America, about her son’s visit to North Sentinel Island and the attack,” Pathak revealed.
As per reports John reached Port Blair on October 16 and stayed at a certain Hotel Lalaji Bay View. On October 19, he left for Hut Bay which is in the Little Andaman Island and quite far from capital Port Bair. He returned to Port Blair on November 5 and stayed with his friend Alexander till he left for North Sentinel Island on November 14.