American on deadly trip to Indian island: ‘God sheltered me’

Chau’s diary reveals an obsession with the idea of bringing Christianity to the Sentinelese

Family members of John Allen Chau, the American missionary who was recently killed by the Sentinelese tribe with bows and arrows in the North Sentinel Island, Bay of Bengal, said in a statement released on social media that they were forgiving those who were responsible for Chau's death.

According to police, Chau had rented a boat and hired some local fishermen to take him to the North Sentinel Island.

The Christian evangelist who attempted to convert one of the world's last remaining isolated tribes wrote of his convictions in pursuing the mission even in the face of open hostility and attempts on his life, according to diary entries and notes.

"Words can not express the sadness we have experienced about this report", his family said in a statement posted on his Instagram account. "The team consists of coastal guards, officials from tribal welfare department, forest department officers and police officials", Pathak said. It has been said that they have forgotten how to make fires and so as not to be caught out they keep multiple fires burning all the time.

A murder case has been registered against unknown persons, and seven people, including at least five fishermen, have been arrested for helping Mr Chau reach the island, police say.

One of the challenges before the authorities right now is to retrieve John's body, which is not an easy task, as the North Sentinel Island is left alone even by local authorities to protect the 60,000-year-old tribe.

He lamented that "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 bad event".

Chau found fishermen to take him to the island, and after a few trips he told them that he wouldn't return.

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"The Indian authorities should have been enforcing the protection of the Sentinelese and their island for the safety of both the tribe and outsiders", it said.

There are 572 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory and only three dozen are inhabited.

P.C. Joshi, an anthropology professor at Delhi University who has studied the islands, called the incident "a foolish adventure", adding that Chau "invited that aggression".

It is said they have made little to no advancement in the over 60,000 years and still live very primitive lives, surviving mainly on fish and coconuts. "A simple thing like flu can kill them", he said. "Nobody has access to these people".

Asked why, she answered, "My prayers". The tribe and their home are protected by Indian law to maintain their way of life and protect them from modern illnesses because they lack immunity. "So much is lost: People are lost, language is lost, their peace is lost".

Described as "arguably the most enigmatic people on our planet", by Norwegian geneticist Erika Hagelberg, the wider group of Andaman Islanders, which comprises several distinct tribal groups, was largely isolated until the island chain was turned into a British penal colony in the 19th century.

While special permissions are still required, visits are now theoretically allowed in some parts of the Andamans where they used to be entirely forbidden.

"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 awful event", the group said in a statement.

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