‘No confirmed news about crucifixion of Indian Catholic priest’

Bengaluru: A Salesian order Catholic priest on Tuesday said there is no confirmed news about the “crucifixion” of Indian priest, Father Thomas Uzhunnallil, by Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Yemen.

“There is no confirmed news till date about Fr. Tom. Don’t be carried away by the rumours in the social media,” said Father Vincent Matthew.

The priest said efforts are still underway at all levels to secure his release.

“This is the information I can share for the moment,” added Matthew.

Efforts to reach the head of Catholic church in Bengaluru, Metropolitan Archbishop Bernard Moras, were not successful as he was away from his residence.

The social media and many media houses have disseminated news on the crucifixion of Uzhunnallil by IS terrorists on Good Friday, March 25, after they abducted him from a home for the elderly in Aden, Yemen.

The Indian priest was kidnapped on March 4 after IS terrorists barged into the care home for the elderly set up by Mother Teresa in Aden in 1992, and shot dead many people, including four nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, one of them from India.

Uzhunnalil’s ancestral home in Ramapuram in Kottayam district is at present closed as two of his brothers live abroad, while another lives in Gujarat.

The brother from Gujarat has reached Ramapuram after hearing the news of the abduction.

His relatives said they were in contact with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who regularly keeps in touch with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Salesian Order of priesthood was founded by Saint Francis de Sales in Italy to save the rising generations from the disastrous consequences of false and atheistical philosophical teachings introduced at the time of the French Revolution.