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Features \ Asia features

Indian Jesuit Fr. Prem Kumar on his abduction in Afghanistan - part 2‎

Indian priest Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar SJ, waving out in New Delhi, after being released in Afghanistan.  - AFP

Indian priest Fr. Alexis Prem Kumar SJ, waving out in New Delhi, after being released in Afghanistan. - AFP

12/03/2015 11:07

Jesuit priest Fr Alexis Prem Kumar from southern ‎India’s Tamil Nadu state, was returning from a visit ‎to a school for returnee refugees run by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in a settlement some 35km ‎from Herat,  in western Afghanistan, when he was he was abducted at gunpoint into a vehicle by a ‎group of armed men on June 2, 2014, and sped off.   After over 8 months of captivity, the 47-year old ‎Jesuit was released on Feb. 22.  The JRS is immensely grateful to the Indian government for its role in ‎achieving Fr. Prem Kumar’s release.  Indian Prime Minister ‎Narendra Modi said he was "delighted at ‎securing" the priest's release.  ‎

In a lengthy telephone interview to Vatican Radio from his home town in Tamil Nadu, Fr. Prem ‎described his imprisonment.  Last week, in the first part of this interview, he explained how he was ‎kidnapped and held captive, during which they shifted him to 9 different locations.  Most of the time, ‎his hands and feet were shackled and chained to his cot, and was even blindfolded once.  He admitted ‎he was not abused physically, and his captors shared with him their food and medicines (when required, ‎especially when he suffered chest pain).  Surprisingly, they also provided him with a radio receiver with ‎which he avidly listened Vatican Radio’s Tamil and English programmes, which, he said, brought him ‎immense consolation, especially listening to Pope Francis.  When asked why he was abducted, Fr. Prem ‎said his kidnappers indicated they don’t want foreigners in their land.  Well, today, in the final part of ‎this interview, we began by asking Fr. Prem whether he ever received any threat or warning before his ‎abduction.  

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12/03/2015 11:07