Indian police struggle to recover body of American killed by island tribe

Here & Now


Indian authorities are trying to figure out how to recover the body of a young American missionary who was killed on a remote Indian island by a tribe. That has resisted the outside world for thousands of years before he was shot with arrows and buried by the tribe on the beach, Jon Allen Chao wrote that he thought God was protecting him from authorities who try to keep people from visiting north sentinel island joining us now is Jill mcgivering BBC. South Asia editor she's in London. Hi, jill. Hi. So what more do we know about the circumstances surrounding his death? And what was he doing there? Well, the thought is being a little bit cautious about saying very much. You can imagine this is extremely sensitive. But we all hearing a little bit of information from the fishermen who apparently were paid by John to take him out to this area. They say that he'd made several attempts to go out to north sentinel island to make contact with this group, and that this particular instance, he took a canoe with. Him and went from the fishing boat to the canoe and manage to land that in itself is actually geographically a little bit difficult because there's a big coral reef, which is one of the barriers that's being between the outside world on the sentinel. As people the victim and say that almost as soon as he set foot on the send he was attacked with arrows and a page to die. And then one of the issue is now is really verifying. Exactly what happened and also retrieving his body, which is still Ed, but it seems clear from what he wrote before he died that he knew that he was in danger going to this island. Yes, I think he was very aware of the dangers this tribe in particular is known for being the the most uncontactable and the most hostile to contact of all the many tribes in this area. We're talking about a very very remote area there about three hundred islands basically right in the middle of the day of Bengal. And in terms of things like flora and fauna, you're thinking more Burma and Thailand and Indonesia than than really India, but it comes under Indian. Jurisdiction. What more do we know about the people on this island? They're all quite a lot of photographs of them that have emerged from very long distance. But obviously, it's difficult to know a lot about the way of life. There are thought to be between fifty and one hundred and fifty of them left. It's thought that they may have been living on that small island, which is described as being around the size of Manhattan, full something up to fifty five or sixty thousand. Yes. So possibly the oldest on contacted tribe left on the globe the have been attempts in the pasta, contact them. But they have been very hostile to anyone attempting to engage with them and giving a strong sense if they want to be left alone that quite physically small in stunt, you that almost unclothed just went something that looked like a loincloth, and they have very dark skin. So at this point the task to try to get a Jon Allen chows body back that that is not going to be easy. Indian officials. Don't even travel to this island can his body ever. Be recovered. It presents the authorities with a tremendous dilemma, I think partly it's to do with culture in a way it's to do with diplomacy and the respect that they won't want to show the family. The may also be practical issues one of the concerns about maintaining this no contact rule with these with many of the tribes. But this one in particular is to do with the risk to them of having any contact with people from another part of the world because they do not have immunity to thing. This like, you know, the basic common. Flu will come in cold syphilis, all sorts of things that have been in the past instances where the tribes have made some contact and large numbers of them have died, and as I'm saying already with this tribe, which looking about dwindling small number

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