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Modi writes to Jaya, promises safe release of Prem Kumar from Afghan abductors

Jayalalithaa had asked Modi to intervene and secure the 47-year-old Prem Kumar's release in Afghanistan.

IBNLive.com

Updated:June 12, 2014, 2:16 PM IST
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Modi writes to Jaya, promises safe release of Prem Kumar from Afghan abductors
Jayalalithaa had asked Modi to intervene and secure the 47-year-old Prem Kumar's release in Afghanistan.

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter to Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on the abduction of a Christian missionary Alexis Prem Kumar by Taliban at Herat in Afghanistan.

In a letter dated June 5, he said, "I thank you for your letter of June 4. I too am deeply concerned by the abduction of Father Alexis Prem Kumar in Herat province of Afghanistan. I have been assured that the Government of Afghanistan and the authorities in Herat are taking every possible step to ensure the early release of Father Prem Kumar."

"Our Ambassador in Kabul has been in regular touch with the President's Office and the security agencies. My National Security Advisor has also spoken to the Afghan National Security Advisor, who has assured full and sustained efforts by the Afghan Government to seek Father Prem Kumar's release. As you would fully appreciate, this is an extremely delicate situation and our primary concern at this stage is to ensure the integrity of the ongoing efforts for Father Prem Kumar's release and to ensure that he does not come to harm. I can assure you that the Government will spare no effort for the safe and earliest possible release of Father Prem Kumar. I will continue to monitor the situation very closely," Modi's letter said.

Jayalalithaa had asked Modi to intervene and secure the 47-year-old Prem Kumar's release in Afghanistan. She wrote to Modi asking him to take up the matter at the highest level in Afghanistan so that local authorities can double their efforts to release Kumar.

Noting that Father Alexis Prem Kumar, hailing from Dindigul district, was on a "humanitarian mission" in Afghanistan when he was kidnapped, she said, "The incident has caused considerable anxiety to his family and friends in Tamil Nadu".

Earlier DMK Chief Karunanidhi had also asked the Prime Minister to step in and ensure the safe release of Father Alexis Prem Kumar.

While no group has so far claimed responsibility for the abduction, Afghan Interior Ministry had said that three Taliban members have been arrested by Afghan security forces in connection with the abduction of Kumar. Before moving to Afghanistan, Kumar had worked for the JRS, serving Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu. Kumar had accompanied teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for the returnee refugees in Sohadat village, 25 km from the city of Herat. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat, the JRS said.

The abduction came nearly 10 days after the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat by four heavily-armed gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. The attackers were subsequently killed by the security forces who repelled the attack on May 23. On May 29, the Indian mission in Herat had issued an advisory asking its nationals to exercise extreme caution while venturing out.

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