Priest's rescue shows growing respect for India: Minister

The rescue of a Catholic priest from Kerala, Tom Uzhunnallil, from captivity in Yemen displays the growing respect for India internationally, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday.

Prasad was asked about the release of the priest who was abducted by terrorists in Yemen’s Aden in March last year and was rescued from an undisclosed location in Yemen after intervention of the Oman government.

“We are very happy. The details will be disclosed by the Ministry of External Affairs,” Prasad said, adding: “There was serious concern… the father hailed from Kerala.”

“Now we are told that he has been released. The government of India undertook serious diplomatic steps. It only shows rising political respect that India commands,” he said.

Uzhunnallil, who belongs to Kottayam district, was brought to Muscat, the capital of Oman, on Tuesday morning.

Later, the Indian priest left Muscat on board an Oman Air aircraft for an audience with the Pope in Vatican.

Uzhannallil is an employee of the Vatican, which has been engaged in talks with various quarters for his release.

The Oman government took the lead in getting him released after a papal representative visited Oman last month and had an audience with the King of Oman.