The All India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest lay Catholic organization in India, has called on the Prime minister Narendra Modi to use his influence and that of his government to negotiate with the countries of the Middle East to free Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, kidnapped in Yemen on March 4, 2016. In the letter, signed by the President, Lancy Da Cunha, Catholics express the anguish of the Christian community over the long months of imprisonment undergone by the Salesian priest, in the hands of jihadi militants linked to the Islamic State. Cunha says: "We ask for your personal intervention and assistance to ensure that he will return home as soon as possible and in complete safety. We hope and pray that you will support us".
Since last March, Fr. Tom, a native of Kerala state, has been a captive of an Islamic group after it a home for the sick and elderly of the Missionaries of Charity in Aden, in southern Yemen. In the attack four sisters of Mother Teresa and 12 other people present in the building were massacred. After months of silence, at the end of December a video was posted online in which the priest gave his personal details and stated he needed "urgent medical care".
AICU acknowledged "the surroundings are much more complex than other cases of kidnapping of Indians in Afghanistan.” It expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Government and others for the release of Jesuit Father Alexis Premkumar, kidnapped in June, 2014 in Afghanistan and released eight months later. Even Judith D'Souza, the Indian Catholic volunteer kidnapped in June last year, in the same country, and released later. (Source: AsiaNews)