NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian police are working with anthropologists and psychologists to see if a plan can be forged to recover the body of an American missionary suspected to have been killed by an isolated tribe on a remote island, an officer said on Monday.
John Allen Chau, 26, is believed to have been killed last week after travelling to North Sentinel – part of the Indian archipelago of Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal – to try to convert the tribe to Christianity.
The Sentinelese, generally considered the last pre-Neolithic tribe in the world, have violently resisted any contact with outsiders. The Indian government has for years placed the island off-limits to visitors to protect the tribe.
“We are in constant touch with anthropologists and psychologists,” said Dependra Pathak, director general of police in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
“If they suggest any methodology to interact without disturbing them then we can draw (up a) strategy,” he said. “At this stage we don’t have any plan to confront our Sentinelese.”
Chau, who described himself in social media posts as an adventurer and explorer, made several trips to the island by canoe on Nov. 15.
He told fishermen who took him to the island a day later he would not be returning, Pathak said previously.
Seven people who helped Chau reach the island have been arrested.