One Held for Jesuit Priest’s Abduction in Afghanistan
NEW DELHI: One person was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the abduction of Jesuit priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar, an Indian aid worker in Herat province, even as Afghan security forces were involved in a massive search operation to nab the kidnappers.
On Monday, Father Alexis Prem Kumar was kidnapped from a village, 35 km outside Herat city, where he had gone to inspect a school.
According to sources, Afghanistan has conveyed to Indian officials that one person has been apprehended, who was apparently involved in the abduction of the priest. Indian government has been in touch with their Afghan counterparts at all levels, Ambassador Amar Sinha with officials in Kabul and consul general with local authorities in Heart. “The External Affairs Minister is monitoring the situation and is giving directions when required,” sources said.
The Herat province security chief Samiullah Qatra said that Afghan police and intelligence operatives have launched an intensive search operation to trace the kidnappers and Alexis Prem Kumar. Local reports had said that residents believed that the Indian aid worker could have been taken to another district, but no such information has been provided to Indian authorities so far. No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the abduction of the Indian aid worker.
Father Kumar, who is the director of the Jesuit Refugee Services in Afghanistan, had been working in the country for nearly three years. His abduction, less than two weeks, after the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat, is being viewed as an alarming escalation of strikes on Indian targets in Afghanistan.
Before going to Afghanistan, 47-year-old Father Kumar had worked with Sri Lankan refugees in TN for six years. His relatives, who live in Devakottai, have been informed, added the head of Jesuits in South Asia.
The Indian embassy in Kabul had been attacked twice in 2008 and 2009. But, after that there had been a lull for a few years with no major incidents for several years. But this was broken in August 2013, the Jalalabad consulate was targeted by a team of suicide bombers, but ANSF officials managed to gun them down before they reached outer periphery.
Petition to CM
Meanwhile, AIADMK Sivaganga MP P R Senthilnathan on Wednesday petitioned Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa requesting her to seek the intervention of the Central government to rescue Father Alexis Prem Kumar.
In another development, the family members of Alexis Prem Kumar organised a special prayer in their house in Variyanvayal as the family members did not receive any message from the Indian embassy on his whereabouts. “So far we haven’t received any information, but we learnt from the media that police have arrested one person reportedly involved in the kidnap of my brother,” said Albert Monaharan, brother of Prem Kumar.