Kerala Church takes kidnapped priest’s case to streets

Father Uzhunnalil was kidnapped in the port city of Aden on March 4.

Jan 25, 2017

KERALA: Church people in Kerala organized what they called the first public program on Tuesday pressing for governmental action to free a Catholic priest abducted in Yemen last march.

The first public meeting with socio-political leaders was organized on the side of a busy street in Kollam town. Hindu leader Guru Jnana Tapaswi opened by lighting an oil lamp in the presence of political and social leaders in the town.

The kidnapped priest Father Thomas Uzhunnalil was a symbol of kindness and human love and “it is high time government and society responded strongly to secure his release,” the Hindu leader said.

Kerala Catholic Bishops Council’s Family Commission organized the program. The commission’s secretary Father Paul Madassery said they will intensify the struggle if the central government fails to act more decisively in the matter.

“We are not challenging, but pleading,” said Father Baiju Julian, episcopal vicar of Kollam diocese, who chaired the program.

Although this was the first public program, as a continuation of this a two-day fast and prayer program was started in Kalpetta.

Organizers said the demand to intensify action to secure freedom for the priest is fast tuning into social call with participation of people from different religions and cultural backgrounds.

Father Uzhunnalil, a member of Salesian congregation, is a native of Kerala. The priest, working at the Missionaries of Charity Care Home in Aden, was kidnapped after suspected Islamic terrorists attacked the facility and gunned down 16 people including four nuns in March last

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