KOTTAYAM: It was an unanticipated blessing for the Uzhunnalil family on a rainy afternoon. The drizzles, in fact, cooled the atmosphere as well as their minds. "Now it is 18 months and eight days since the abduction (of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil). We were anxious over his safety. Even we feared if he was alive," said Thomas Uzhunnalil, his second cousin. The relatives were jostling inside the house of N.A. Thomas, his second cousin, while his ancestral house was just 2 km away. They welcomed the guests with sweets. Mr Thomas is a retired headmaster of the Ramapuram High School.
"We came to knew about his release by 3 pm on TV," he told DC. Joseph Mathew, his first cousin, said the interventions of the Vatican and the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj were crucial. However, Father George Jnarakunnel, the Vicar of the St Augustine's Forane Church Ramapuram attributed it to the prayers of the community. He said Fr Tom used to render Holy mass whenever he comes to his place. There were prayers on every Sunday during the Holy mass for his release. Visitors including lawmakers K.M. Mani, Mons Joseph, Roshy Augustine, Jose K. Mani thronged the house to share their joy. But his five siblings were away - three in the US one in Baroda and one in Mannarcad near Palakkad. They are all eagerly awaiting his call any moment.