John Allen Chau: Restricted Area Permit may be reimposed in North Sentinel islands, say home ministry officials

New Delhi: The Restricted Area Permit (RAP), which forbids people from visiting prohibited locations without permission, may be reimposed in the North Sentinel island where an American was killed by members of a highly protected and reclusive tribe, officials said Wednesday.

The central government has also found that 44 incidents of violation of rules and regulations, other than RAP, by foreigners have taken place in the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the recent past, even as a delegation of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) will visit the Union territory on 4 December to assess the situation arising after the killing of John Allen Chau by the Sentinelese tribes a couple of weeks ago.

File photo of John Allen Chau. Andaman and Nicobar police

File photo of John Allen Chau. Andaman and Nicobar police

The home ministry received a report of the Andaman and Niocobar islands administration on the incident, a home ministry official said. A worst-case scenario would be reimposition of the RAP in the North Sentinel island along with a few other islets, the official said. The North Sentinel island is one of 29 islands in the Andamans where till June foreigners had to take special permission — the RAP — before being allowed to visit them.

Even though RAP was withdrawn, any tourist is required to take permission from the forest department and the administration of the Andamans as it is protected under two other acts: protection of aboriginal people and forest acts. The home ministry has also found that as many as 44 incidents of violation of rules and regulations by foreign tourists have taken place in the Andamans in the recent past. However, none of these incidents are related to the RAP, another official said.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the NCST, headed by its chairman Nand Kumar Sai will visit the Andamans on 4 December to take stock of the situation there arising after the killing of Chau. The home ministry has also submitted a report to the NCST on the incident, the official said.
The police said the slain American had enlisted the help of a local electronics engineer and water sports service provider and hired five fishermen to evade the patrolling teams of police, Coast Guard and Indian Navy to approach the island.

For this, the local fishermen were paid around Rs 25,000 by Chau. Chau and the team had started on 14 November around 8 PM for the North Sentinel Island and reached there by midnight. The next day, he moved to shore using his kayak which he towed with the fishing boat. After dropping him, the fishermen fixed their timings and place to meet each other between the shoreline and their high sea fishing area.

On the morning of 17 November, they saw a body being buried at the shore which from the silhouette, clothing and circumstances appeared to be the body of Chau, the police said. Chau's accomplice and the fishermen were later arrested by the police.

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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2018 23:27:08 IST

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