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ICC Note:

In 2016, Father Tom, an Indian Christian priest, was abducted and held by ISIS for 18 months. He was released September 12 and has returned to India to meet Prime Minister Modi and several other ranking Indian officials. In December 2016, Father Tom famously accused the Indian government and the Vatican for their lack of action to rescue him. He also noted that if he had been “a European priest,” authorities may have considered him higher value. Indian government officials denied such accusations, contending that “the life of every Indian is most precious to us.” Such a statement contradicts the constant persecution and targeted discrimination by the ruling BJP party and other Hindu radicals against Christians in India. Laws like the anti-forced conversion laws remind Christians and other religious minorities in India that their lives matter far less than Hindu lives.   

09/29/2017 India (The Asian Age) – The Indian Christian priest from Kerala, Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was rescued from his suspected ISIS captors in Yemen on September 12, returned to the country on Thursday after spending some time in Vatican City and met both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. But in a symbolic gesture and outreach to the Christian community in Kerala, it was newly-inducted minister of state for tourism Alphons Kannanthanam who played a prominent role in welcoming the priest back home. In fact, in photos released on Twitter by the ministry of external affairs (MEA) on Father Tom’s separate meetings with PM Modi and Ms Swaraj, Mr Kann-anthanam was shown standing next to PM Modi and with Ms Swaraj to welcome the priest.

After increasing its influence steadily among Hindus in the southern state, the BJP is also wooing the Christian community in Kerala, where it is trying to make a significant electoral presence.

“Such kind of war may end in this world and everybody be able to live peacefully and harmoniously. I have prayed for those who kept me (captive). They gave me food and didn’t harm me physically,” Father Tom said.

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