Sentinel Island Mystery

Picsart 23 04 19 16 11 17 860 1 jpg

Mysterious Place Of India

North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands, an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal which also includes South Sentinel Island.It is home to the Sentinelese, an indigenous people in voluntary isolation who have defended, often by force, their protected isolation from the outside world.


image source :

Why is it so isolated?

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Act of 1956 prohibits travel to the island, and any approach closer than 5 nautical miles (9.3 km), in order to protect the remaining tribal community from “mainland” infectious diseases which they (likely) have no acquired immunity against. The area is patrolled by the Indian Navy.

The Sentinelese have repeatedly attacked approaching vessels, whether the boats were intentionally visiting the island or simply ran aground on the surrounding coral reef. The islanders have been observed shooting arrows at boats, as well as at low-flying helicopters. 

Such attacks have resulted in injury and death. In 2006, islanders killed two fishermen whose boat had drifted ashore, and in 2018 an American Christian missionary was killed after bribing local fishermen to transport him to the island.

Who are Sentinelese?

The Sentinelese, also known as the Sentineli and the North Sentinel Islanders, are an indigenous people who inhabit North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal in the northeastern Indian Ocean. 

Designated a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group and a Scheduled Tribe, they belong to the broader class of Andamanese peoples.

In November 2018, John Allen Chau, an American man, was killed by members of the Sentinelese tribe.

The Sentinelese hunt and gather in the forest, and fish in the coastal waters. Unlike the neighboring Jarawa tribe, they make boats – these are very narrow outrigger canoes, described as ‘too narrow to fit two feet in’. 

These can only be used in shallow waters as they are steered and propelled with a pole like a punt.

Does anyone live on South Sentinel Island?

The island is uninhabited but is sometimes used by diving expeditions on account of its remoteness and novelty factor.

Can Indians go to Sentinel Island?

It is against the law for Indian citizens to visit North Sentinel or make any contacts with the Sentinelese, one of the remaining Stone-Age tribal communities living here.

 The Sentinelese, who have practiced isolation for centuries, violently attack anybody who even makes an attempt to pay the secluded island a visit.

How old are the Sentinelese?

For 60,000 years , The Sentinelese are believed to have lived on their island home for 60,000 years. Like so many isolated tribal people with a fearsome reputation, the Sentinelese are often inaccurately described as ‘savage’ or ‘backward’.


As a regional head for India’s Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Mr Pandit embarked on visits to their isolated island community over a period spanning decades.

The tribe, who have lived in near-total isolation for tens of thousands of years, came to global attention last week after they reportedly killed a 27-year-old American would-be missionary trying to make contact with them.

But Mr Pandit, now 84, says from his experience the group are largely “peace-loving” and believes their fearsome reputation is unfair.

“During our interactions they threatened us but it never reached a point where they went on to kill or wound. Whenever they got agitated we stepped back,” he told the BBC’s World Service.

I feel very sad for the death of this young man who came all the way from America.

 But he made a mistake. He had enough chances to save himself. But he persisted and paid with his life.”

Mr Pandit first set out to visit North Sentinel island, solely inhabited by the tribe, in 1967 as part of an expedition group.

Initially the Sentinelese hid in the jungle from their visitors, and then on later trips shot at them with arrows.

He said the anthropologists would bring a selection of items along with them on their trips to try and entice contact.

“But the Sentinelese warriors faced us with angry and grim faces and were fully armed with their long bows and arrows, all set to defend their land.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *