American national John Allen Chau, who was allegedly killed and buried by Sentinelese people -- members of a protected tribe -- in the Andamans, had survived an arrow attack a day before his death as it hit the Bible he was carrying, his diary noting has revealed.
"I'm scared…Watching the sunset and it's beautiful - crying a bit . . . wondering if it will be the last sunset I see," a note in the diary of the 26-year-old American from Washington State reads. Chau had reportedly travelled to the island on a clandestine mission to convert its inhabitants to Christianity.
The hand-written notes of Chau, who was killed when he tried to enter the prohibited North Sentinel Island, mention that he wanted to acquaint the tribespeople with the message of Jesus Christ.
Chau "appeared to be a staunch believer" (of Christianity), Director General of Police, Andaman and Nicobar, Dependra Pathak, said.
The 13-page notes of Chau, handed over to the police by his local contact Alexander who has been arrested in connection with his killing, also show that he knew his mission was illegal. He wrote of maneuvering to avoid the Indian authorities who patrol the waters near North Sentinel Island.
"God Himself was hiding us from the Coast Guard and many patrols," he stated in a description of the boat journey. The notes written in incongruent sentences in English throw light on his misadventure.
The DGP said that as part of the probe, a police team on Friday made a trip towards the Sentinel island with Alexander, whom they have taken on remand.
Chau, an avid traveller who graduated from Oral Roberts University, had visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands four times before. He was killed possibly with arrows. But Andaman Police PRO Jatin Narwal had said on Wednesday that it was a subject of probe. He had maintained that the death was caused by traditional weapons, adding that it cannot be specifically said whether he was killed by arrows or spears.
According to the DGP, on November 17 the fishermen, who had taken Chau near the island, saw a dead person being buried at the shore which from the silhouette of the body, clothing and circumstances appeared to be the body of the American national.
The US national, who according to the DGP, had paid around Rs 25,000 to local fishermen to take him to the island, wrote that god sheltered him from the coast guards and the Navy.
Chau in his notes dated November 16 narrated that around 4.30 am, standing near the shore of the Sentinel island he saw two persons as the sun rose. He told them that he too has two legs.
He further recounted that he was inches from an "unusual guy about 5 ft 5" and as they got bunched together he gave them some gifts. But, the short-statured man "shot me with an arrow that directly hit the Bible which I was holding near my chest", he wrote.
Who are Sentinelese people?
# The Sentinelese people are among the tribes that survived the tsunami of 2004 without any help from the outside world.
# For the 2011 Census, enumerators could locate only 15 Sentinelese people - 12 men and three women. However, their numbers could be anything between 40 and 400, according to experts.
# In 2006, two Indian fishermen were killed when their boat broke loose and drifted onto the shore.
(With PTI inputs)