23 May 2017
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  • » 02/13/2017, 11.14

    INDIA

    Catholic Indians to Modi: Use your influence to release Fr. Tom, kidnapped in Yemen

    Santosh Digal

    The All India Catholic Union is the largest association of lay Catholics. A letter to the Prime Minister asks him to use his diplomatic channels in the Middle East. In December, the native of Kerala Salesian appeared in a video, visibly tried, stating his need for urgent care.

    New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The All India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest lay Catholic organization in India, is calling on Prime minister Narendra Modi to use his influence and that of his government to negotiate with the countries of the Middle East free Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, kidnapped in Yemen on March 4, 2016.

    In the letter, signed by the President, Lancy Da Cunha, Catholics express the anguish of the Christian community over the long months of imprisonment undergone by the Salesian priest, in the hands of jihadi militants linked to the Islamic State. Cunha says: "We ask for your personal intervention and assistance to ensure that he will return home as soon as possible and in complete safety. We hope and pray that you will support us".

    Since last March Fr. Tom, a native of Kerala, has been in the hands of an Islamic group that attacked a rest home for sick and elderly of the Missionaries of Charity in Aden, in southern Yemen. In the attack four sisters of Mother Teresa and 12 other people present in the building were massacred. After months of silence, at the end of December a video was posted online in which the priest gave his personal details and stated he needed "urgent medical care".

    The lay association recognizes that "the surroundings are much more complex than other cases of kidnapping of Indians in Afghanistan. We appreciate the efforts made by the Government and others to the release Jesuit Father Alexis Premkumar, kidnapped in Afghanistan and released eight months later. Even Judith D'Souza, the  Indian Catholic volunteer kidnapped in the same country, sometime later "was released.

    According to Catholics, "given the difficult situation in the region, we believe that the Government of India, with its enormous capacity of influence and good relations in many Middle Eastern countries, is best placed to ensure effective intervention for the release of Fr. Tom from his captivity. "

    "We call - says the chairman in conclusion - to her and to his colleagues of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to take all necessary measures to ensure his safety and freedom."

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    See also

    21/03/2016 14:57:00 YEMEN – ITALY
    For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs

    Fr Tom Uzhunnalil was the chaplain of the Sisters of Mother Teresa killed in Aden. He is now in Jihadi hands. So far, nothing is known about his fate. Unconfirmed rumours claim that he will be crucified on Good Friday. The Rector Major addresses the Salesian Family asking for prayers for the victims of sectarian violence.



    08/01/2014 VIETNAM
    Vinh: Christmas celebration for the release of two Catholics, jailed for defending religious freedom
    Ngo Van Khoi and Nguyen Van Hai left jail on 22 December, welcomed by the Catholic community, which celebrated their liberation. A special thanks goes to Mgr Paul Nguyen Thai Hop who fought against the unjust sentence, and expressed his joy for their homecoming and the special occasion of celebration.

    07/07/2008 NEPAL
    Catholics mourn the “first martyr” of the Church in Nepal By Kalpit Parajuli
    At the funeral of Fr John Prakash more than a thousands priests, nuns and ordinary believers gather to honour the memory of the slain Salesian clergyman. People want to know what happened as Bishop Sharma promises continuity in the work of the religious.

    30/01/2007 MONGOLIA
    New mission in Darkhan with 23 catechumens
    Salesian missionaries in Mongolia have established the first Catholic parish outside the capital. Even the Communist government has welcomed their arrival. As they work to help the local population improve its life, preparations are under way for 23 new baptisms.

    08/07/2010 INDIA
    Catholic Church and the Indian government to help 60 thousand poor students
    Salesian priests and the Indian Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development collaborate to offer three months free training for poor students. The course is already active in the state of West Bengal and will expand to other Indian states over the next two years



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