Rights

'Call off Efforts to Retrieve Body of John Allen Chau from North Sentinel Island'

"Nothing is to be achieved by escalating the conflict and tension, and worse, to creating a situation where more harm is caused," a statement released by several concerned citizens reads.

New Delhi: A week after American John Allen Chau was killed on North Sentinel Island, the fact that Indian authorities have been making repeated efforts to figure out how to recover the body, several concerned citizens have issues a joint statement urging the government to call off the search.

In the joint statement, the signatories, who include Pankaj Sekhsaria, the author of Islands in Flux – the Andaman and  Nicobar Story; Denis Filed, the editor of Andaman Chronicle, Zubair Ahmed, the editor of Light of Andamans, and anthropologists and researchers like Vishvajit Pandya, Sita Venkateshwar and Manish Chandi, have underlined that “the rights and the desires of the Sentinelese need to be respected”.

Also read: Centre Ignored ST Panel Advice on Protecting Vulnerable Andaman Tribes

“Nothing is to be achieved by escalating the conflict and tension, and worse, to creating a situation where more harm is caused,” the statement reads. “We are not aware of the pressures under which the Government of India and the Andaman and Nicobar administration is pursuing the efforts for the retrieval of the body, but would urge the authorities concerned to immediately call off these efforts.”

The full statement has been reproduced below.

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‘Pls call off efforts to retrieve body of John Allen Chau from North Sentinel Island: Joint Statement’

26 November 2018

To all concerned…

We, the undersigned note with concern and distress the continued efforts of the A&N administration to retrieve the body of John Allen Chau from the island of North Sentinel.

The media has reported nervous stand-offs between the teams seeking to land on North Sentinel to get the body and members of the Sentinelese community who clearly find these incursions unwelcome. Continuing with the efforts could well lead to further violence and completely unwarranted loss of life.

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.

We are not aware of the pressures under which the Government of India and the A&N administration is pursuing the efforts for the retrieval of the body, but would urge the authorities concerned to immediately call off these efforts.

Signed,

– Pankaj Sekhsaria, member, Kalpavriksh and author, ‘Islands in Flux – the Andaman and  Nicobar Story’

– Vishvajit Pandya, Anthropologist and Author

– Manish Chandi, Senior Researcher, Andaman and Nicobar Environment Team

– Zubair Ahmed, Editor, Light of Andamans, Port Blair

– Denis Giles, Editor, Andaman Chronicle, Port Blair

– Madhusree Mukerjee, Researcher, Activist and Author

– Sita Venkateshwar, Anthropologist and Author

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