Krishnanagar, Feb. 25: Father Tom Uzhannalil, an Indian catholic priest kidnapped in Yemen during March 2016 by IS backed rebels and rescued during September last year, today apologized for his words in the video message during captivity that apparently hurt the Indians. An employee of the Vatican, the 59 year old Father whom the Indian Government managed to rescue with the help of the Oman and Sudan government as well as with Vatican’s intervention, allegedly said that being an Indian he was “perhaps not considered as of much value” while pleading for his release..
But, today Father Tom apologized claiming that those words were “not from heart” rather he was “made to say those words” by his abductors.
He told this to NfN after attending a mass at Mother Home in Krishnanagar, where he came to express his gratitude to the sisters who prayed for his release.
The elderly father said: “What I spoke during the period was not from my heart. My abductors wanted me to speak so. I do not know why they forced me to say so. It was not my own compulsion for own favor. Nevertheless, I apologized to all the people concerned of my country”.
Father Tom, who originally hails from Ramapuram in Kottayam district Kerala, was allegedly abducted from Yemen by ISIS on March 4, 2016. The jihadist militants raided his charity house in Aden and killed 16 people, including four Catholic nuns, who were from the Missionaries of Charity congregation, founded by Mother Teresa.
While the Indian Government was trying to ensure his release, a video message released by the abductors had shown that the priest had appealed for help his release. In the said video, the Father had complained that had been a European priest, he would have been more importance by the authorities and got him released. “I am from India and therefore, I perhaps am not considered as of much value”, he told in the video.
The video in which he was shown being beaten up had created outrage and hurt people in the country.
“What I spoke during the period was not from my heart. My abductors wanted me to speak so” – Father Tom Uzhannalil
Today father Tom, who believes in ideology of Mahatma Gandhi, said: “They took at least four or five video. Everything was staged by the abductors. I told them that Bullets and bombs are not the way to bring peace. I was forced to speak their scripted words. I did not utter and done anything from my heart. I do not know why they made me to say so. They did not harm me, but forced me to utter those words, probably to speed up the response from administration. I have also told this to President and Prime Minister”.
Speaking about the love people showered on him, the Father said: “I am blessed to be able to return to my country. I am thankful to the God and people who prayed for me irrespective of their religious faith” It is the rich culture of our country for which people from all community and religion prayed for me. My Hindu brothers done puja for me, Muslims went to Mosques, the government done its best. I wished to thank everybody in the name of God and I pray he gives good sense to all.