Minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar Jan. 4 said that the central government had instructed Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, who was kidnapped by terrorists in Yemen last March, not go to that country.
“Father Uzhunnalil went to Yemen ignoring the government's instructions. We are yet to find out where he is and the efforts to rescue him are continuing,” Akbar told media.
“He might not have noticed our efforts to save him and that could have made him criticize the government,” the minister added, responding to questions about an online video surfaced during Christmas week.
In the video Father Uzhunnalil appealed to Pope Francis and the union government to secure his release from his captors.
If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously. I am from India. I am perhaps not considered as of much value," he said in the video.
"I am very sad that nothing has been done seriously in my regard," he said. “Reports say everything has been done, but in reality, nothing has been done,” the priest said in the video.
A day after the video made headlines, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had said that the government would spare no effort to secure Father Uzhunnalil's release.
"I have seen the video from Father Tom. He is an Indian citizen and the life of every Indian is most precious for us," Sushma Swaraj had tweeted.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia had said that it got 'strong indications' that Father Uzhunnalil is alive.
The Salesian priest of Bangalore province, a native of Kerala, was kidnapped March 4 after Islamic State terrorists attacked the Missionaries of Charity care home in Aden and shot dead nine people including four nuns, one of them from India. The priest who worked as caretaker was abducted.
Source: manorama online
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