Salesians meet External Affairs Minister for Uzhunnalil’s release
Bangalore: A Salesian team led by the Bangalore provincial has recently met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to plead for the release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in Yemen more than a year ago.
Swaraj told the team that she felt with Uzhunnalil, who has faced “unimaginable trauma and suffering” for the past 18 months. The Indian government has listed the priest’s safety and release as one of its top priorities, she added.
All efforts are made with utmost urgency by the Indian government and help is sought from governments, organizations, and people who could assist in this process, the minister told the Salesian team on August 17 when it visited her in her office in New Delhi.
She reiterated that Uzhunnalil is alive and safe and that the Indian government believes he would be released soon.
The delegation submitted a letter of appeal that highlighted its concerns and hope for Uzhunnalil’s early release.
Besides Bangalore provincial Father Joyce Thonikuzhilyil, the team included vice provincial Father Jose Koyickal, Father George M.K. and Delhi provincial Jose Mathew. Father Anand David Xalxo from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India accompanied them.
Uzhunnalil was abducted on March 4, 2016, from a home for the aged and destitute in Aden, a southern port city. Armed terrorists stormed the home managed by the Missionaries of Charity and shot dead four nuns and 12 employees.
They abducted Uzhunnalil, a member of the Bangalore province of the Salesians who attended to the spiritual needs of the nuns.
The meeting with Swaraj was arranged by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of CBCI.
(Source: Bosco information service)