The 56-year-old Father Tom Uzhunnallil was kidnapped by the Islamic State on March 4 from war-torn Yemen.
Reports claim that he was crucified on March 25, on Good Friday, as was announced by the Islamic State. But there is no official confirmation of the same from the Indian government and other reliable sources.
The Aden Missionaries of Charity from where Father Uzhunnallil was kidnapped. AP Photo/Wael Qubady
Following the reports of his abduction, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had assured that India will do everything possible to rescue him.
The problem was that the Indian Embassy in Yemen had been closed due to the ongoing crisis in the Gulf country.
Father Uzhunnallil, from Bengaluru, was kidnapped from the Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in the Yemeni city of Aden.
The terrorists killed four Indian nuns, two Yemeni female staff members, eight elderly residents and a guard.
A South African group of nuns, Franciscan Sisters of Siessen, had posted on their Facebook page about Islamic State’s decision to crucify the Father. They subsequently deleted the post.
But no one had any information about the Father following his kidnapping.
On March 27, reports of that he had been ‘crucified’ started doing the rounds.
The reports emerged The Washington Times
and was subsequently picked up by other news outlets, though no one could confirm the Father’s fate.
On Monday, March 28, Catholic News Service quoted Abu Dhabi based Bishop Paul Hinder that there are “indications” Father Uzhunnallil was still alive.
The Indian government has not issued any statement in this regard, but Congress leader Manish Tiwari tweeted this today:
And this was Sushma Swaraj’s response to that:
Yemen is in a civil war between Shia Houthi rebels supported by Iran and the Sunni government supported by Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have bombarded Houthi bases leading to a humanitarian crisis in the country. The Indian Navy had launched a massive rescue operation called Operation Raahat in 2015 and evacuated its own nationals and nationals of 33 other countries, including Pakistan, from the war-torn region.