Surgical strike demanded to free kidnapped priest

February 7, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

New Delhi, February 7, 2017: Parliamentarians from Kerala cutting across parties joined hundreds of people on February 6 at a sit-in in New Delhi to press the federal government to intensify its efforts to free a Catholic priest abducted in Yemen.

“The government must convince the people that it is doing sufficiently to save Father Tom Uzhunnalil,” said K C Venugopal, a former federal minister addressing the program organized by the diocese of Faridabad and the Catholic Congress.

Father Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest from Kerala, was abducted on March 4, 2014, from a Missionaries of Charity center in Aden, south Yemen. A video on social media just before Christmas showed a bearded person claiming to be Fr Uzhunnalil pleading the Indian government and Pope Francis to intensify their efforts for his release. He alleged that nobody had tried to negotiate with his abductors.

Vengugopal, a member of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, urged the Indian government to surgical strike to free the priest.

On September 29, 2016, India carried out surgical strikes on alleged terrorist camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, nearly ten days after attacks on an army camp in Uri that killed 18 soldiers.

Anto Antony, another MP, efforts to free Father Uzhunnalil suffered greatly after the hospitalization of federal Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. “Now we have to start from square one,” he said and added that the sit-in was to express people’s deep sorrow for the abducted priest and anxiety over his safety.

He also alleged great neglect by the government in Father Uzhunnalil’s case. “We want to know if the priest is safe,” he added.

Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of Faridabad, the main organizer, said the program aimed to press the government to intensify its efforts for the priest’s release. The former Vatican diplomat regretted that there was no visible sign of the government doing in this case.

Several leaders of the Catholic Congress from Kerala also attended the program held at Jantar Mantar, a downtown venue for public protests.

The Church in India has for the past few weeks intensified its prayers for Father Uzhunnalil’s release.

– matters india

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