Modi assures Jayalalitha of priest's release

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha that the Centre would spare “no effort” to ensure the safe release of Indian priest Alexis Prem Kumar, who was abducted by unidentified gunmen in Afganistan last week.

Modi’s assurance came against the backdrop of Jayalalitha’s request to “personally intervene” and take up the matter at the highest level in Afganistan for the early release of Prem Kumar. “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,” Modi said in a letter to Jayalalitha.

Stating that Indian Ambassador in Kabul has been in regular touch with the President’s Office and the security agencies, Modi said “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”.

The prime minister said the primary concern at this stage was to ensure the integrity of 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 said. 

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