Islamic State-abducted Kerala priest’s kin want govt to expedite rescue

  • Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Updated: Jul 21, 2016 08:47 IST
Relatives of Father Tom Uzhunnalil pleaded the Union government to expedite measures to get him released. (File Photo)

A day after the photo and video clipping of abducted Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnalil surfaced on social media, relatives pleaded the Union government on Wednesday to expedite measures to get him released.

The issue also figured in Parliament and the external affairs ministry said it was verifying veracity of latest posts.

The priest, who hails from Pala in Kottayam, was abducted on March 4 when members of a terror group stormed an old-age home run by Missionaries of Charity in southern Yemeni city of Aden. Sixteen persons, including four nuns were killed in the attack.

“The weary photo almost looks like his. We don’t have any mechanism to cross check this either. We are relieved to hear that he is alive,” his brother Mathew Uzhunnanil said.

Special prayers were held in his village in Ramapuram. “We are hoping against the hope,” said another relative of the priest, TC Mathew.

In the photo, the priest with an overgrown beard looks fragile and weary putting both his hands on his chest.

“Besides the photo, an old video clipping is also doing rounds in social media. It is really disturbing. Blind-folded, he’s getting thrashed by unknown assailants,” said another relative.

It is not clear who posted the video and photo on social sites.

The issue figured prominently in Lok Sabha. Replying to a question raised by Kottayam MP Jose K Mani external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said the government will make all efforts to release the priest.

“The abduction is a matter of grave concern for us. We don’t have an embassy there and we are exploring all ways to reach him. Prime Minister Modi during his recent overseas visits has taken up the issue with various heads of states,” she said.

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