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I have prayed for those who held me captive: Tom Uzhunnalil

By Vikas

Kerala priest Tom Uzhunnalil, who was freed from Islamic State's captivity after 18 months, on Thursday said that he has prayed for even those who held him captive as they gave him food and did not harm him physically.

Kerala priest Tom Uzhunnalil

Uzhunnalil, who met Narendra Modi today after his arrival in the national capital, said that the Prime Minister was happy to see that he was freed.

"He was happy that I am freed. He said take care of your health now," he said.

"I have prayed for those who kept me captive. They gave me food and didn't harm me physically," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, the priest arrived at Delhi's IGI airport and thanked everyone responsible for his release from captivity.

"God has a mission for all of us and my mission has, to be present for the old and the dying," he told the media after meeting the PM.

The priest was abducted during a terrorist raid on a Missionaries of Charity-run old age home in Aden in Yemen on March 4, 2016.

"Initially they asked who will help me-govt or Church? After that don't know what they did," the priest said when asked about the demands made by his captors.

He was rescued from captivity in Yemen on September 12 and then flown to the Vatican. In his first video message after being released on September 12, Father Uzhunnalil said he was "happy, strong in mind and soul" though he needed to recuperate.

Father Tom was rescued after intervention of Oman's foreign ministry. The Catholic Church, political leaders and family members of Father Uzhunnalil had earlier thanked the governments of India and Oman for the efforts taken to secure his release.

[Kerala priest Tom Uzhunnalil meets PM Modi]

Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) President and Major Archbishop of Syro Malankara church Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos and Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, CBCI Secretary General, said the church was grateful to the government of India and all concerned for the steps taken to secure his release.

Father Uzhunnalil, who belongs to Bharananganam in Pala in Kottayam, was abducted from the port city of Aden after the terror group attacked a care home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. There were several video messages from him after the incident, asking for help.

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