KOTTAYAM: The Salesian congregation of Bengaluru province have not got any information from the Government of India regarding the condition of Father Tom Uzhunnalil SDB. The Salesian priest was allegedly abducted by terrorists from the port city of Aden, in Yemen. There were rumours that the priest who was abducted on March 4 was crucified on Good Friday. However, the external affairs ministry had confirmed that the priest was alive.
“The Salesian Congregation in Bengaluru has no information about the condition of Fr Tom. No one in the government has contacted us regarding his condition. We believe he is alive since no organisation has claimed that they have killed him. Even the external affairs minister said in the Lok Sabha that he is alive,” Father Mathew Kollarakot SDB, the spokesperson of the Province told this newspaper.
He said that though the Salesian congregation has not entrusted anyone to negotiate for the release of Father Tom, Paul Hinder, the Bishop of the Vicariate of the Southern Arabia, who is in charge of the mission of that region, is supervising the progress of the negotiations. "The congregation is hopeful about his release, especially after news that some of his abductors have been arrested recently," Father Kollarakot added.
The Salesians are the third largest missionary organisation in the world with over 17,000 members working in around 132 countries across the world. Recently, four months after his abduction, a video clipping surfaced showing a blindfolded priest who reportedly resembled Father Tom appearing on Facebook getting abused by unidentified men at an unknown location.
The terrorists who abducted Father Tom had killed 16 inmates at the Missionaries of Charity destitute home in Yemen before abducting him. Fr Tom is a native of Ramapuram near Kottayam. Four nuns, including one from India, succumbed in the terrorist attack....