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Government doing all to secure priest's release, says minister

June 07, 2014 14:01 IST

Minister of State for Heavy Industries Pon Radhakrishnan on Saturday said he had already taken up the issue of securing the release of Jesuit priest abducted in Afghanistan with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and hoped he would come back to India safely.

“I have spoken to her (Sushma Swaraj) and also written a letter… It is a very unfortunate incident. We are trying to secure his release. I am hopeful he will come back to India safely,” he said.

Father Alexis Premkumar was kidnapped from Herat province in Afghanistan by suspected Taliban militants. The Afghanistan government has conveyed to India that it had concrete leads in the case. “They have come across some concrete leads and have shared these leads with us,” an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson had said on Friday and also added Afghanistan was working on ‘all fronts’ to rescue Kumar.

A native of Tamil Nadu, Kumar was working with the Jesuit Refugee Service, an educational charity, as its Afghanistan director and has been in the war-torn country for over three years.

On the fishermen’s issue, he said neither his party nor the Centre would tolerate their harassment and recalled the steps it took for release of 33 fishermen even before Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha arrived in Delhi for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The seven boats seized from the fishermen by Sri Lanka will be secured and Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj was taking steps in this regard, he noted.

Image: Alexis Prem Kumar, the priest who was abducted in Herat, Afghanistan. 


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