‘Stockholm Syndrome? I don’t care two hoots for criticism’
By Babu K Peter | Express News Service | Published: 03rd October 2017 03:38 AM |
KOCHI: Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, who was rescued from the custody of militants in Yemen, said he did not care about the criticism he had Stockholm Syndrome, a condition in which hostages develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. “People can say anything. Let those who criticise me continue to do so. I’ve nothing to say on that,” Fr Uzhunnalil said during a chat with Express in Kochi on Monday. His soft-natured statements on his captors have triggered criticism, especially on social media, he had a favourable attitude towards those who abducted him.
Fr Uzhunnalil reached Kerala on Sunday after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi, and also visiting the Don Bosco Provincial House in Bengaluru. Fr Uzhunnalil said his captors gave him metformin tablets and insulin. “Diabetes would’ve worsened had I not got them,’’ he said.
On his meeting with Pope Francis, Fr Uzhunnalil said he could not control his emotions when the former kissed his hands. “Tears welled up in my eyes because I didn’t deserve such an honour from the Pope,’’ he said. Referring to the video message, in which he said he would have been saved much before had he been a European, Fr Uzhunnalil said he was compelled by his captors to make it. “That wasn’t my opinion. I had no option but to say what they wanted me to say. I believe key persons in different governments initiated steps for my release. I’m grateful to all those who put in efforts to save me,’’ he said.
The abductors did not give any information to Fr Uzhunnalil he was going to be released. “On the day of release, I was told there was a happy news for me. Yet there was no strong indication to understand I’m going to be released,’’ he said.Reiterating his stand, Fr Uzhunnalil said the traumatic experience in Yemen would not stop him from being a missionary.