Kottayam: There is no "adverse" report about the 40 people from Punjab held hostage in Iraq by ISIS militants and a Catholic priest from Kerala abducted by the same group in Yemen, the Centre said on Sunday.
"There is no confirmation whether he is dead or he is alive....Anything adverse is not there," Minister of State for External Affairs, General VK Singh, told reporters in Kottayam when asked whether Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, the Indian priest who was kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants in March, was still alive.
"It is the same situation that we are facing for 40 people from Punjab. They are in the captivity of IS in Iraq. We don't have any confirmation. But we don't have any adverse report," Singh said.
"We just know a person has been abducted...or the 40 people are in captivity but anything adverse is not there. It is not coming out," the minister said, adding, the government would not be able to say anything till the time any information reaches it.
The Indian nationals were taken hostage by the ISIS on June 11 in 2014 in northern Iraq's Mosul town.
Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who hails from Ramapuram in Kottayam district in Kerala, was abducted in March this year by the terror group in Yemen, a conflict zone. He had gone missing after the militant group attacked a care home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.
Gunmen had stormed the refuge for the elderly and killed a Yemeni guard before tying up and shooting 15 other employees. Four foreign nuns, including an Indian, were among those killed.
Father Tom was captured from the southern Yemeni city of Aden by gunmen who killed at least 15 people in an attack that was condemned by Pope Francis.