Government Trying to Secure Priest's Release: Radhakrishnan
CHENNAI: Minister of State for Heavy Industries Pon Radhakrishnan today 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 told reporters here.
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 haveshared these leads with us," an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson had said yesterday and also added Afghanistan was working on "all fronts" to rescue 47-year-old Kumar.
A native of Tamil Nadu, Kumar was working with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an educational charity, as its Afghanistan Director and has been in the war-torn country for
over three years.
Radhakrishnan was speaking after visiting the BJP headquarters "Kamalalayam," for the first time after assuming office as Minister at the Centre.
BJP activists thronged the airport in large numbers and accorded a rousing reception to Radhakrishnan.
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.
On the issue of constitution of Cauvery Management Board, Radhakrishnan said the Centre has been apprised of Tamil Nadu's stance and added that the Union government would do justice.
Asked if some alliance partners of the BJP in Tamil Nadu were 'dissatisfied', he said there was nothing of the sort, adding that some elements were trying to create it, which, however, would not succeed.