Three months after American missionary John Allen Chau was killed by the isolated Indian tribespeople he was illegally trying to contact, the U.S. says it will not pursue any sort of prosecution against those who killed him.
Although a prosecution was unlikely, Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback confirmed the U.S. would be dropping the case in response to a question from a reporter during a February 7 press conference.
“The U.S. government has not asked or pursued any sort of sanctions that the Indian government would take against the tribal people in this case. That’s not been something that we have requested or have put forward,” Brownback said.
“It’s a tragic situation and a tragic case of what’s happened, but that’s not something that’s been asked,” he added.
According to The Washington Post, Chau spent years planning to convert the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island to Christianity. Chau reportedly knew the tribespeople had a violent history when it came to outsiders, but he went forward with his mission anyway.
Aside from the laws he broke to make the trip, Chau’s actions came under intense criticism due to the fact that his very presence among the tribespeople exposed them to diseases that could potentially wipe them out.
Chau had a “very meticulous plan to camouflage his expedition as fishing activity,” said Dependra Pathak, the director general of police for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, according to The Washington Post.
The backlash against Chau also came from fellow Christians and his own father, who said the missionary community held part of the blame in his son’s death.
Speaking to The Guardian, Patrick Chau said that his son’s “extreme” vision of Christianity led him down the path to his ultimate demise.
“John is gone because the Western ideology overpowered my [Confucian] influence,” he said.
In one of his final letters to his parents before his death, Chau was as determined as ever.
“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this, but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people,” he wrote.
“Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed,” he added. “Rather, please live your lives in obedience to whatever he has called you to and I’ll see you again when you pass through the veil.”
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