Kolkata: In the wake of John Allen Chau’s approach to spread Christianity among the Sentinelese tribe at North Sentinel Island, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has told the local administration to keep an eye on foreigners or local priests who may try or already indulge in attempts to convert other tribes in the Andaman.
The 26-year-old American had wanted to “declare Jesus” to the Sentinelese, one of the world’s last uncontacted tribes. He had approached them with a Bible and some gifts. He was shot with arrows for his misplaced adventure on November 17 and his body has not been retrieved so far.
The 13 pages of notes written by John also confirmed his designs of conversion as he referred to the island as one of the last “Satan’s strongholds.”
In one of the pages, he described his first encounter with the Sentinelese. He wrote, “My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you.” He also sang worship songs and hymns minutes before a Sentinelese boy reportedly shot an arrow that stuck John’s Bible.
Speaking to News18, NCST chairman Nand Kumar Sai said that after John’s much publicised attempt, there could be others who may attempt to convert other tribes, such as the Jarawa and Onge.
“We are in Port Blair to discuss various issues related to tribal welfare and the death of John Allen Chau at the hands of the Sentinelese tribes at North Sentinel Island.”
He said the government has an ‘Eyes On, Hands Off’ policy for the uncontacted tribe and the administration has been asked to monitor people who may indulge in conversion of tribal people in Andamans.
“There are many theories coming out of this incident. The local missionaries may have some special interest in this issue. Unki (missionaries) ruchi to hai….These all are subject to investigation,” he added.
The NCST chief was in Port Blair along with a team of senior officials, including those from the home department. “We will do whatever it will require for the welfare of tribal people.”
Anusuiya Uikey, vice-chairman of NCST, said the DGP was informed about the suspicion that foreigners that come to Port Blair may attempt conversion of local tribes. “The incident is very complex and it seems to be a part of larger conspiracy by a section of religious people. This need a proper investigation,” she said.