Kerala priest Tom Uzhunnalil, who was freed from Islamic State's captivity after 18 months, on Thursday returned to India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He arrived at Delhi's IGI airport today and thanked everyone responsible for his release from captivity.
"Very happy, thank almighty for making this day possible. All people who have worked in their own ways, I am grateful," he told reporters.
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.
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 the 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.
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.