Rescued Kerala priest meets PM Modi, Swaraj

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest from Kerala, had been abducted by terrorists in March previous year while he was in Aden.

Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Vatican priest from Kerala who was abducted by Islamic State militants, returned to India on Thursday, ANI reported. He is scheduled to meet prime minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj here. “All people who have worked in their own ways, I am grateful”, said Uzhunnallil upon his arrival at Delhi.

He was received by Union Minister of State for tourism Alphons Kannanthanam at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi at 7.40am.

Father Uzhunnalil, who was released recently from the Islamic State captivity, had said earlier this month that he was “never physically harmed during captivity.’ Associated Press had quoted father Unzhunnalil as saying from Vatican City: “I thank God almighty, He has been extremely kind to me”.

On October 1, he will arrive in Kerala at Kochi and will then head for his home-town at Ramapuram in Kottayam district.

Father Tom Uzhunnalil will then fly to Bengaluru to spend a few days with the Salesians Congregation, to which he belongs, the Catholic Church said. The Catholic Church, political leaders and family members of Father Uzhunnalil had earlier thanked the governments of India and Oman for the efforts taken to secure his release.

The priest was abducted during a terrorist raid on a Missionaries of Charity-run old age home in Aden in Yemen on March 4, 2016.

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