November 17 was a dark day for American missionary John Allen Chau. He was a 26-year-old young man who was trying to establish contact with a prehistoric tribe in the Andaman Islands. He was killed by an arrow. Chau had made a visit earlier to the remote North Sentinal Island which is part of the Andaman island chain a day earlier. His diary records the event in some detail.

It appears he did make contact with two tribesmen, but he was shot by an arrow which pierced the bible he was carrying in front of him. He came back the next day, but this time he was killed.

The police have arrested seven fishermen who had helped Chau reach the forbidden island on a charge of abetment of murder. Times Now has reported that all attempts to peacefully recover the body of the slain evangelist has been put on hold as the tribesmen are very hostile.

Forbidden Island

North Sentinal is a forbidden island. Visits to this island are banned. Chau was one of a new breed of preachers who have a desire to spread the word of Jesus in remote places. He very well knew the dangers involved yet he chose to go to the Island. This island is home tribesmen and women who live an isolated life. They are supposed to have migrated from Africa during prehistoric times. The Indian government does not interfere with their lifestyle, and the tribes are generally left to live their own lives as they wish.

Visits to the island are banned by the Indian government which some time back authorised military exercise with Russia. ABC News has reported that Chau contravened the ban and enlisted the help of some local fishermen to ferry him to the forbidden island.

Recovering body

The fishermen were witness to the attack on Chau and reported the matter to the police.

They have all been arrested. Attempts by the police to recover the body of Chau have failed as its very risky to set foot on the island. Authorities are now wondering how to recover the body of the slain evangelist. This is no easy task as some time back the tribals had killed two fishermen who had been marooned on the island, and the body of only one of them was recovered.

Last word

The tribe that inhabits North Sentinal island number just about 50. They have no contact with modern civilization and government and experts feel it best to let them live their life as it is. They probably practice primitive arts like voodoo which was used in Africa to lure girls to Europe. It is a moot point whether this is the best policy as the tribal population is steadily dwindling.

Chau had a mistaken zeal to attempt to convert the tribes to Christianity. This is a noble idea, but he should have done his homework better. Venturing into the forbidden island without an escort or a weapon to defend himself was, to say the least foolhardy.