John Allen Chau, who was suspected to be killed by members of the protected Sentinelese tribe in the North Sentinel Island in Andaman, may have been part of a larger group of American citizens who were trying to introduce Christianity to the tribe, say reports.
Chau, 27, is believed to have been killed with arrows by members of the tribe, which is known to resist all contact with outsiders.
Chau's death has led to criticism about the attitude of Western missionaries who think it their "duty" to spread religion to people in poorer countries who, as this incident has shown once again, may not welcome it. Missionaries were also the vanguard of colonial efforts to "civilise" people outside the Europe and US.
A report in the Hindustan Times said that two US citizens had met Chau at a 'safe house' before he went to the island.
HT quoted an officer, who didn't want to be named, as saying, "The two US citizens were a 53-year-old woman from Tennessee and a 25-year-old man from Colorado."
The officers believe that the 'safe house' belonged to a local man named Alexander who has been brought in for questioning.
Hindustan Times reported that the man landed in India on 5 November while the woman had been here since October. They left India on 10 November. They are said to have motivated Chau to visit the island and preach Christianity to the uncontacted tribe. Chau was supposed to set out for the North Sentinel Island on the next day.
Chau's diary has revealed that he planned to spend months with the Sentinelese tribe.
He paid local fishermen around Rs 25,000 to take him to the island. Chau left for the island on 14 November at 8 pm and is believed to have reached around midnight. Chau had used a kayak to move to the shore and was supposed to meet the fishermen between the shoreline and their high sea fishing area.
However, the police have said that on 17 November the fishermen saw a body being buried by the tribe, and they recognised it to be Chau's.