Info sought on government steps on abducted priest
By Matters India reporter
Bengaluru: A prominent Catholic lay leader in Bengaluru on December 27 sought information on the steps taken by the Indian government for the release of a Catholic priest who was abducted in Yemen ten months ago.
Kanickaraj Anthony Vikram, director of short film and former vice president of the Janata Dal Secular party’s Christian wing of Karnataka unit, filed the Right to Information (RTI) petition with the federal External Affairs Ministry a day after a video clip on Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil went viral on social media.
The video shows a person claiming to be Father Uzhunnalil pleading the world community’s help in his release. The bearded man alleges that nothing has been done by the Indian government and Church authorities for get him released, despite several attempts by his captors for negotiation.
Father Uzhunnalil, who hails from Ramapuram village of Kerala’s Kottayam district was kidnapped on March 4 from a Missionaries of Charity center in Aden, a port city in southern Yemen.
Vikram says he was compelled to file the RTI petition after reading in the newspaper inaction by the Indian government in securing the safe release of Father Uzhunnalil.
The lay leader shared with the Indian bishops and other Church leaders his petition that wants to know the present condition of the abducted priest and the efforts by the government, particularly the External Affairs Ministry, to get him released.
Anthony also wants to know the demands from the abductors and the reason for the government delay in getting in touch with the abducted priest.
The lay leader urged the prelates to pray for Father Uzhunnal’s safety and try to bring in international pressure from the Vatican city for the priest’s release.
Earlier in the day, Persecution Relief, a social media advocacy group that focuses on harassed Christians in India, launched a petition to rescue Father Uzhunnalil. Some 510 people have signed up the petition at the ipetitition.com within a few hours.
The petition is addressed to the Indian present, prime minister and the external affairs minister urging them to take “every effort and necessary actions” to save Father Uzhunnalil.