Our ‘nationalism’ made us bring back Father Tom, Father Prem: PM Modi

December 3, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

India, December 3, 2017: The Prime Minister was referring to a letter written by Macwan to state’s churches warning the people against the “nationalist forces”.

In his letter, the archbishop had made an appeal to voters to exercise their constitutional right in favour of those who believe in the principles of secularism and the Constitution of the country.

“My appeal is not against any party or in favour of any party. I have just asked people to vote according to their conscience and vote for those who are more open to secularism and constitutional values,” Macwan had said.

He then cited the efforts undertaken by his government to ensure the release of Father Tom and Father Prem from the clutches of the terrorists in Yemen and Afghanistan, respectively.

“Those who are releasing Fatwas against ‘nationalists’ should see the effort we undertook to get Father Tom back. Father Tom was guided by his love for Lord Christ and was working. We got Father Tom back. We also got back Father Prem, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan,” he said.

The Keralite priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil was abducted by Islamic State terrorists during a deadly attack on a care home in the port city of Aden in war-ravaged Yemen on March 6, 2016. In July, Union minister Sushma Swaraj had taken up the issue of Uzhunnalil’s abduction with the Deputy Prime Minister of Yemen and requested him to secure the release of the priest. He was subsequently released in September.

In February 2015, India secured the release of Jesuit priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar who had been in Taliban captivity in Afghanistan since June last year.

Responding to archbishop’s warning against the “nationalist forces”, the PM underlined the importance of the spirit of nationalism in ensuring the release of the two Christian spiritual leaders.

“It is our ‘nationalism’ that made us get Father Tom and Father Prem back. When Judith D’Souza was kidnapped, we once again did whatever we could to bring this daughter of India back,”he said.

He substantiated his argument by quoting his government’s efforts to safely evacuate a group of 46 India nurses who were stranded in a conflict zone in Iraq.

“Our nurses were stranded in West Asia. When these nurses, who are doing such humanitarian work, are stranded how can anyone sleep in peace? Every effort was undertaken to bring them back home,” he argued.

The PM also lauded the humanitarian efforts by the minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj and said her desire to help people in need has transcended religious boundaries.

“Have you seen how active Sushma Swaraj is? Guided by humanitarian values, she is serving so many people in need- they can be in any part of the world but she helps them,” he said.

The Prime Minister was addressing an election rally in Ahmedabad.

– times of india

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