Indian Priest, Abducted From Yemen, Appeals To Pope Francis, Centre For Help

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Indian Priest, Abducted From Yemen, Appeals To Pope Francis, Centre For Help

Father Tom Uzhunnalil was abducted from a Missionaries of Charity home in Aden in South Yemen.


Kochi:  An Indian Catholic priest abducted from Yemen this year appealed to Pope Francis and the central 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 of much value," said Father Tom Uzhunnalil in a weak voice in the video, aired by news channels in Kerala. "Dear Pope Francis, dear Holy Father, as a father please take care of my life. I am very much depressed. My health is deteriorating," he said in the video, a day after Christmas.

Father Uzhunnalil, who looked very weak, appeared to be reading out from a text placed before him.

The veracity of the video, which was uploaded to YouTube and Facebook, could neither be independently verified nor was the period when it was shot known.

Father Uzhunnalil, from Kerala, was abducted in March by terror group ISIS which attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Aden, a city in south Yemen.

He claimed his captors have made several attempts to contact the the Government of India - President and Prime Minister. "I am very sad that nothing has been done seriously," he said.

He said reports had said everything has been done to get his release, "but in reality nothing" has been done.

Father Uzhunnalil said a news reporter abducted in the Middle East was released as she was from France.

"I am from India and not considered. Dear people, I pray you all, ask you all, beg you all to do your might to help me to save my life. I need hospitalisation soon. Please come to my help quickly," he said.

The Centre has said efforts are being made to secure Father Uzhunnalil's release, but such attempts take time.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had informed Parliament that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has spoken to various countries through which contacts can be established in Yemen.

Ms Swaraj had said it takes time to secure the release of people who are held captive and asked the MPs to keep "faith" in government's efforts to trace the abducted priest.


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