Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh on Wednesday said no ransom was paid to the Islamic State abductors for the release of Indian priest Tom Uzhunnalil.The priest, abducted in Yemen on March 6, 2016, was rescued on Tuesday. When asked about ransom, Singh said: “No.” External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj thanked on Twitter the governments of Yemen and Oman that aided India in securing Father Tom’s release.
Singh said Father Tom’s release shows that the Ministry of External Affairs works quietly and gets the work done. “We know the type of criticism that had come when the priest was kidnapped in Yemen. We are very happy that he has come back safely and I’m sure people will appreciate that we were able to get him out safe,’’ the minister said. On the strategy used to get the priest released, Singh said if a direct method failed to get results, indirect methods were adopted. Singh said it was up to Uzhunnalil to decide on his return to India from Rome.
Reports reaching here said Uzhunnalil has reached the headquarters of his Salesians Congregation in Rome. The Church has released a photograph, showing Uzhunnalil with his colleagues there. Asked whether Uzhunnanlil contacted any Indian official to thank the government following his release, Singh said: “I’m quite sure that he will do it after he gets back.” A video of Uzhunnalil had surfaced in December last year in which he had appealed to the Indian government to free him.