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Video of abducted Kerala priest Tom Uzhunnalil appears on Facebook; govt assures action

A new video that surfaced online shows Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest from Kerala who was abducted by ISIS in Yemen, being brutally beaten by his abductors.

India TV News Desk [ Published on: July 20, 2016 15:50 IST ]
Kerala priest Tom Uzhunnalil
Kerala priest Tom Uzhunnalil

New Delhi: A new video that surfaced online shows Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest from Kerala who was abducted by ISIS in Yemen, being brutally beaten by his abductors.

In the clip, also shared on Facebook, the ISIS abductors can be seen thrashing and beating Father Tom.

A photo was also posted to Father Tom 's Facebook page, with the caption "Fr Tom's Entreaty will be uploaded soon ..!" In the photograph, he looks very fragile and can be seen with an overgrown beard.

Father Tom, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March by terror group Islamic State which attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in southern Yemeni city of Aden. At least 15 people at the old-age home were killed in the attack.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said in Lok Sabha that efforts are being made to secure release of Father Tom.

Swaraj said Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has spoken to various countries through which contacts can be established in Yemen where India does not have an Embassy of its own.

The issue was raised by members from Kerala who said disturbing pictures of Father Tom were appearing in the social media.

Swaraj said it takes more time to secure release of the people who are held captive and asked the members to keep "faith" in government's efforts to trace the abducted priest.

"Abduction of Father Tom Uzhunnalil is a matter of grave concern for us. Yemen is a war-torn country. We do not have Embassy there but we are looking for ways to reach him. Not only me, but the Prime Minister during his overseas visits has spoken to various countries through which contacts can be established with Yemen," the Minister said.

She said the government is also trying to ascertain the authencity of the images of Father Tom which have appeared in social media.

"It is taking time, but keep faith on us... We bring back stranded people fast, but it takes time to bring back those who are held captive. We will bring back Fr Tom Uzhunnalil," Swaraj said.

Earlier, rumours were also spread online that his captors would crucify him on Good Friday, but no evidence for the claim was ever produced and both his superiors and the government consistently denied it.

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