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ICC Note:

After eight months of captivity, a Jesuit priest from India was finally released by the Afghan Taliban last month. Father Alexis Prem Kumar was abducted in June 2014 while serving with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Afghanistan. The Indian government, which has come under increasing pressure for its treatment of religious minorities in India, helped secure the priest’s release after months of negotiations with Taliban leaders.  

3/3/2015 India (World Magazine) – A Jesuit priest and his family in India rejoiced over his release last week after eight months as a Taliban hostage.

The Islamic militants in Afghanistan freed Father Alexis Prem Kumar after negotiating with the Indian government. On Feb. 22, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter that he had spoken with the priest and informed Kumar’s family he would be released, the Catholic Herald reported.

According to Indian Express, Kumar’s brother John Joseph said Modi told their sister Father Alexis was safe and returning to India.

“Are you happy, he asked, to which my sister said yes,” John Joseph said. “This was the call we have been waiting for every day. So when it actually happened, we could not believe it. I am thankful to God that my brother is safe, and is returning.”

Kumar was working for the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Afghanistan when Taliban gunmen kidnapped him on June 2, 2014. He had just visited a Jesuit school for children who returned to Afghanistan after living as refugees in Iran or Pakistan, according to the National Catholic Reporter. Kumar had worked in the country since 2011.

After being released, he thanked God and the prime minister.

“I thank God Almighty,” Kumar told World Watch Monitor. “I thought I would be never safe. God has saved me.” He also thanked Modi and the Indian government for “taking lots of efforts for my release and millions who prayed for my release.”

In recent months, Modi’s government has been criticized for not doing enough to protect Christians and other religious minorities in India in the wake of increased persecution from Hindu nationalists.

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