An American tourist has been killed by a remote Indian tribe after he illegally ventured onto their island home.
John Allen Chau, 27, was met with a volley of arrows as he set foot on North Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman Islands deep in the Indian Ocean.
Police sources told local media that Mr Chau was a missionary and travelled to the island to convert the Sentinelese tribe to Christianity.
But police officer Dependra Pathak disputed this, telling local website News Minute the American "was on a misplaced adventure in (a) prohibited area to meet uncontacted persons".
Mr Pathak said authorities are still consulting with tribal welfare experts to determine how best to retrieve Mr Chau’s body.
The case has cast a rare spotlight on the Sentinelese tribe, one of the last in the world thought to be untouched by modern civilisation.
Mr Chau was killed on November 16 when he paid local fishermen to transport him to the island, according to a police source.
"He was attacked by arrows but he continued walking. The fishermen saw the tribals tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body," the source said.
"They were scared and fled but returned next morning to find his body on the seashore."
North Sentinel Island locator
Indian media reported that the fishermen told a preacher in Port Blair, the main town of the Andamans, about the incident who then contacted Mr Chau’s family in America.
The US consulate in the southern Indian city of Chennai confirmed that it was aware of the incident and said it was working closely with local authorities.
According to official sources, Mr Chau had a tourist visa to enter the Andaman Islands, where access to some restricted zones is given, and had made several trips to other Andaman islands before offering money to fishermen to take him to North Sentinel.
Outsiders are banned from going within three miles of their home to protect their way of life and to safeguard them from 21st century diseases.
One police source said: "He tried to reach Sentinel island on November 14 but could not make it. Two days later he went well prepared. He left the dinghy midway and took a canoe by himself to the island".
The Andamans are also home to the 400-strong Jarawa tribe who activists say are threatened by contact from outsiders. But tourists have previously bribed local officials in a bid to be able to spend time with them.
Tribes such as the Sentinelese, believed to be only 150 in number, shun all contact with the outside world and have a record of hostility to anyone who tries to get close.
In 2006, two Indian fishermen who moored their boat to sleep were killed when the vessel broke loose and drifted onto North Sentinel and their bodies never recovered.
The island was hit by the devastating 2004 tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean but not much is known about the impact it had on the reclusive inhabitants.
After the tsunami one member of the tribe was photographed attempting to fire an arrow at an Indian Coast Guard helicopter.
Indian authorities make periodic checks on the tribe from boats anchored at a safe distance from the shore. Survival International, a group protecting tribal people’s rights, said that the "tragedy" of the American’s death "should never have been allowed to happen".
"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.
Since the Indian authorities keep away from the island, the legal repercussions of Mr Chau’s killing are unclear. However police in the island chain in the Bay of Bengal have launched a murder investigation.
Deepak Yadav, a senior police officer, said a case has been registered against "unknown tribesmen" and that six fishermen and one other person were arrested in connection with the death.