Andaman admin rules out link between lifting of RAP and death of American national
Port Blair, Nov 27: The Andaman and Nicobar Administration issued clarification on the issue of removal of Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and its link to the alleged killing of American tourist John Allen Chau.
The Andaman and Nicobar Administration clarified that relaxation of RAP does not give access to any new areas into which they were not permitted entry in any case hithertofore.
"All prohibited areas which include Tribal Areas (as also North Sentinel Island) continue to remain off limits as hithertofore. These prohibited areas remain off limits not only to foreigners but to Indian Nationals as well. RAP was an additional document which imposed delays of upto one hour for foreign nationals immediately on landing in A&N Islands. This document was not intended to grant or refuse access into A&N. The sole determinant of entry was and continues to remain possession of a valid Visa," the Administration mentioned in an official communication.
Meanwhile, the Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has mentioned that Andaman and Nicobar Administration and Chamber of Commerce never suggested removal of RAP for North Sentinel Island, as per AndamanSheekha report.
The local Administration stated that certain sections of the media have attempted to link the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to a recent case of alleged killing of American National without verifying the factual position.
After the the death of the American national caught the attention of global media as International NGO blamed the lifting of the Restricted Area Permit for the tragedy.
Survival International's Director Stephen Corry in an official statement, said, "Instead, a few months ago the authorities lifted one of the restrictions that had been protecting the Sentinelese tribe's island from foreign tourists, which sent exactly the wrong message, and may have contributed to this terrible event."
"Tribes like the Sentinelese face catastrophe unless their land is protected. I hope this tragedy acts as a wake-up call to the Indian authorities to avert another disaster and properly protect the lands of both the Sentinelese and the other Andaman tribes, from further invaders," he added.
Restricted Area Permit:
In a major step earlier this year, the Indian government excluded this island and 28 others in the Union Territory from the Restricted Area Permit or RAP regime till December 31, 2022, news agency PTI reported. The lifting of RAP means foreigners can go to the island without permission from the government. This order follows an earlier directive which allowed foreigners to visit 29 inhabited and 11 uninhabited islands in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were prohibited for visitors under the Foreigners (Restricted Area) Order, 1963, without any restrictions.