Murder Case Registered Against Unidentified Members of Tribe’s Community
11/20/2018 International Christian Concern (Washington D.C.) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that an American missionary named John Allen Chau, age 27, was reportedly killed by unidentified individuals from the Sentinelese community on North Sentinel Island, located in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This murder comes at a time when Indian Christians report ever escalating levels of persecution across the country.
According to local sources, Chau had traveled to North Sentinel Island with the help of local fishermen in an attempt to interact with members of the Sentinelese tribe. Chau reportedly hired a fishing dinghy from the Chidiyatapu area and traveled to North Sentinel Island on November 16. Chau had reportedly visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on five previous occasions and had expressed a strong desire to meet with the Sentinelese tribes to preach Christianity.
Sources claim that Chau was killed by hostile members of the Sentinelese tribe after arriving on North Sentinel Island. The Andaman Sheekha reported that his body was spotted by local fishermen.
Police officials have confirmed today that a case of murder has been registered against unknown members of the Sentinelese tribe. “After getting relevant information a murder case has been registered,” a senior officer told Andaman Sheekha.
India has a history of attacks on foreign Christian missionaries. In January 1999, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary, was burned alive along with his two sons Philip, age 10, and Timothy, age 6. A mob of Bajrang Dal fundamentalists attacked the missionary and his children while they sleeping in their station wagon in Manoharpur village, located in the Kendujhar District of India’s Odisha State.
Across India, reports of persecution continue to escalate in both number and severity. Much of this escalation in persecution followed the rise of the current BJP-led government in May 2014. Using religiously divisive rhetoric for political gain, BJP officials incite Hindu radicals to take action against religious minorities. In 2014, the year the BJP-led government took power, the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) documented 147 incidents of Christian persecution. In 2017, after three years of the current government, EFI documented 351 incidents of Christian persecution.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are extremely concerned by the reports of an American missionary being murdered in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Our thoughts and prayers go out to both John’s family and friends. A full investigation must be launched in this this murder and those responsible must be brought to justice. Every day, new reports of persecution are being documented in India. Many Christians fear this may be the new normal for their community as Hindu radicals and others have been allowed to attack Christians and other minority communities with impunity. India must take steps to counter the growing wave of intolerance and violence.”