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.