• Recently, the Anthropological Survey of India (ANSI) policy document warned of threat to the Sentinelese from commercial activity.
  • The policy document comes almost two years after American national John Allen Chau was allegedly killed by the Sentinelese on the North Sentinel Island.


  • ANSI Guidelines:
    • Any exploitation of the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans for commercial and strategic gain would be dangerous for its occupants, the Sentinelese.
    • The Right of the people to the island is non-negotiable, unassailable and uninfringeable. The prime duty of the state is to protect these rights as eternal and sacrosanct.
    • Their island should not be eyed for any commercial or strategic gain.
    • The document also calls for building a knowledge bank on the Sentinelese.
    • Since ‘on-the-spot study’ is not possible for the tribal community, anthropologists suggest the ‘study of a culture from distance’.
  • About the Sentinelese:
    • The Sentinelese are a pre-neolithic, negrito tribe who live in North Sentinel Island of the Andamans.
    • They are completely isolated with no contact to the outside world. The first time they were contacted by a team of Indian anthropologists in 1991.
      • Due to no contact, the census of Sentinelese is taken through photographing the island individuals from distance.
      • It has a population of about 50 to 100 on the North Sentinel Island.
    • Surveys of North Sentinel Island have not found any evidence of agriculture. Instead, the community seems to be hunter-gatherers, getting food through fishing, hunting, and collecting wild plants living on the island.
    • Sentinelese are also listed under Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) by the government of India. The other four PVTGs of the islands are Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, and Shompens.
    • They are protected under the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956.
      • It declares traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibits entry of all except those with authorization.

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