HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Family of Indian priest abducted by Taliban appeals to PM for his safe return

KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times  Chennai, June 04, 2014
First Published: 15:13 IST(4/6/2014) | Last Updated: 15:58 IST(4/6/2014)

The distraught family of Indian clergyman Father Alexis Prem Kumar, abducted by unidentified gunmen in Afghanistan three days ago, on Wednesday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "bring him back safely and as fast as you can".

"It has been two days since the abduction… but we are shocked that there is no word (from anyone) on his well being," the Jesuit priest's brother Albert Manoharan told Hindustan Times over phone from Kodaikanal on Wednesday.

According to information received by the family, Prem Kumar was kidnapped on Monday by six gunmen from Zenda Jan district in Heart province of the restive country. Prem Kumar is the country head of Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) - an international NGO working for refugees through the world.

Manoharan said all members of the family – based in Kodaikanal –were anxiously awaiting word on the whereabouts and safety of their loved one, "either from the government or the media".

"We have just one request to the Prime Minister -- bring back our Alexis, safe and sound and as fast as you can," he added.

Prem Kumar had gone to Afghanistan on March 6.

On Tuesday, the priest's 77-year-old father, a retired school teacher, brother and sister called on the Sivaganga collector to petition him for efforts to secure the release of Prem Kumar.

Meanwhile, MDMK chief Vaiko has written to Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in securing the release of Prem Kumar.

"I am afraid his life is in danger. I would request you to take appropriate immediate measures with the government of Afghanistan to secure the release of the Catholic priest," Vaiko said in his letter to Modi.

A PTI report quoted a US state department spokesperson as saying that its government was in touch with both Indian and Afghan authorities over the abduction.

The abduction came nearly 10 days after the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat by four heavily-armed gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.

The attackers were subsequently killed by the security forces who repelled the attack on May 23.

On May 29, the Indian mission in Herat had issued an advisory asking its nationals to exercise extreme caution while venturing out.

(With inputs from agencies)

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