Indian priest abducted by ISIS is safe, Sushma Swaraj tells church delegation
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured a Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) delegation that abducted Salesian Order priest Father Thomas Uzhunnallil is safe and all efforts are being taken to free him.
"Sushma Swaraj has categorically assured the delegation that Fr. Tom Uzhunnallil is safe and that the government is adopting all possible means for the quick and safe release of Father Tom," said a CBCI statement.
However, she did not reveal the finer details of the negotiations and the technicalities involved in securing the release of the Indian priest, abducted by the ISIS in Yemen, as it may jeopardise the entire process.
"The minister also said that the wild rumours being spread about any harm done to Fr. Tom, are totally baseless," the statement said, thus quashing the rumours that Uzhunnallil was crucified by the IS terrorists on Good Friday.
The minister also told the delegation, led by CBCI deputy secretary general Joseph Chinnayyan, of the strenuous efforts being undertaken by the Ministry and her personally to obtain the safe passage of the only surviving nun, sister Rema.
On March 4, the priest from Kerala was kidnapped after IS terrorists barged into a Missionaries of Charity care home in Aden for which he is the caretaker and shot dead many people, including four nuns, one of them from India.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Bengaluru, Father Bernard Moras, has called upon the general public in Bengaluru to join for a three-hour prayer vigil for Uzhunnalil to observe the completion of a month of his abduction.
India 'secures' release of 4 Indians from Syria: Swaraj
India has “secured” the release of four Indians from Syria, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday.
The four Indians were arrested by the Syrian government in January reportedly when they were on their way to join Islamic state ISIS.
In a series of tweets regarding the development, the External Affairs Minister said, “Welcome home Arun Kumar Saini, Sarvjit Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Joga Singh."
We have secured the release of four Indian nationals from Syria.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 3, 2016
"I appreciate the officers who facilitated their journey from Syria to India,” she said, adding that “I had requested (the) Deputy Prime Minister of Syria for their release during his visit to India in January this year. Thank you Syria.”