The government has repeatedly said that his rescue is a top priority, but there’s no headway in the case.

One year after Father Tom Uzhunnalil was abducted from Yemen no word on rescuePhoto : Agenzia Info Salesiana
news Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil Saturday, March 04, 2017 - 14:59

March 4, 2017 marks one year since Kerala priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil was abducted from Yemen, allegedly by the ISIS. Though the Union Ministry of External Affairs has repeatedly said that his rescue mission is government’s top priority and that they are trying their best to bring him back, no concrete developments have been reported in the issue.

In fact, so far the government has not even confirmed which terror group has abducted the priest.

“Attempts to rescue him have not been fruitful yet. Nobody could even speak to him directly. We don’t even know what his condition is,” Tom Uzhunnalil’s brother David Uzhunnalil told the media while he attended a prayer meeting in Ramapuram in Kottayam, conducted by the church for the rescue of Father Tom.

“I don’t think that authorities are inactive in rescue mission. They have limitations as it is a war zone and we don’t have an embassy there. But I wish the government and the church would try harder for his rescue,” David said.

The prayer meeting was conducted at the ancestral house of Uzhunnalil family in Ramapuram, and was arranged by Pala archdiocese.

Ramapuram diocese vicar Father George Njarakkunel told The News Minute that church has been trying to rescue him, and as per reports ransom money was asked for his rescue. “As per reports, they have abducted him for ransom money. I am sure he is alive and we as the church won’t spare any efforts to rescue him,” he said.

In the last one year, the Kerala government has asked the Centre to speed up the rescue process several times.

Last Thursday, state law minister AK Balan said in the Assembly that though it was confirmed that the priest was in captivity, the government had no information on where he was kept. In the Assembly, Kerala Congress (M) supremo and MLA KM Mani said that the Centre should seek the help of United Nations to rescue the priest.

Kerala Catholic Church has been conducting prayer meetings across in state seeking the rescue of Father Tom in for several months.

Last December, a five minute-six second video of the priest was released where he is seen begging for help for his release.

 

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