Indian Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was kidnapped in Yemen more than a year ago, is seen in a screen grab from a YouTube video. CNS photo

Indian politician suggests ransom fund for kidnapped priest in Yemen

By 
  • May 31, 2017

NEW DELHI, India – A member of India’s Legislative Assembly is encouraging the Church to raise money for the release of kidnapped priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil, claiming a need for concrete action beyond prayer.

Legislative member P.C. George expressed concern that prayer and words are the only action taken to release Fr. Tom, and said the terrorists only “want money.”

“The Catholic Church should take initiative to raise the fund to pay as ransom to them,” he said, according to Manorama on May 27.

The legislator said he would be willing to donate money, and suggested local churches set aside a particular collection to raise the money necessary for the freedom of priest, who was kidnapped last year by terrorists while serving the poor in Yemen.

George’s words followed a similar call to action from Kerela chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan a day before. Vijayan emphasized the serious nature of kidnapping and the need to speed up the process of his rescue.

“I will directly request Prime Minister to speed up efforts for his rescue during our next meeting in New Delhi,” he said, according to the Deccan Chronicle, adding that little interest has been shown so far to hasten the process.

Legislative AssemblyFr. Tom is an Indian priest who was kidnapped last year during a raid on a house of the Missionaries of Charity in Yemen, which left four nuns dead. The attack was carried out by unknown militants, making it difficult for Indian officials to broker an agreement.

In ransom videos, Fr. Tom has said that the government’s response to his abduction has been poor.

The most recent video was posted last month. It shows the priest sitting cross-legged with a cardboard sign dated April 15, 2017 and speaking slowly to the camera. Similar to previous videos, he expressed a need to be hospitalized soon and that his health was deteriorating. Fr. Tom appears to be thin with an unkempt beard. A member of India’s Legislative Assembly is encouraging the Church to raise money for the release of kidnapped priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil, claiming a need for concrete action beyond prayer.

George and Vijayan insisted that serious steps be taken, and called on the government and Church to be more responsive.

Vijayan, however, explained the difficulty in intervening within Yemen’s affairs, currently characterized by violence, and said it may be necessary to involve the United Nations.

The Yemen civil war began in March 2015 when Sunni-led government was challenged by Shia rebels. Creating a power vacuum, the war allowed Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to have a greater foothold in the country. Military factions from Saudi Arabia have also been involved. According to the United Nations, more than 6,000 people have been killed.

(Catholic News Agency)

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.