The Indian government is in no hurry to retrieve the body of a Christian missionary who was warned to stay away from an isolated island tribe that eventually killed him.
After meeting with tribal welfare experts, anthropologists and psychologists, Indian officials have indefinitely postponed the search for American national John Allen Chau, 27, who was killed Nov. 17 after repeated attempts to convert natives of the Sentinel Island to his religion.
A senior official reportedly told the BBC the decision was made “as not to disturb the protected Sentinelese tribespeople.”
“In the initial days, several attempts were made to find the body after the tribesmen were seen dragging it,” according to the BBC’s unnamed source. “We know the general direction of where it was taken, but we still don’t know where exactly it is.”
Despite being told that his presence would not be welcomed by the reclusive Sentinelese, Chau appeared to make multiple attempts to proselytize to island natives before reportedly being killed by arrow fire. A boat was sent to survey the situation from afar Tuesday, according to the BBC report. A police vessel also observed the situation from more than 400 yards away over the weekend, but withdrew after seeing tribesmen with bows and arrows awaiting them on the shore.
“They stared at us and we were looking at them,” according to regional police chief Dependra Pathak.
The fishermen who helped Chau reach the island, which is protected by Indian law, were arrested for their actions. The island is thought to have between 50 and 200 occupants, though estimates vary as non-Sentinelese are not allowed within 3 miles of the Bay of Bengal island.