Kottayam: The natives of Kottayam is ecstatic about the news of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil’s release from the captivity of militants in Yemen, and this is not the first time that the district has wholeheartedly prayed for the release of a priest. In 1984 Fr. Thomas Chakkalakal, a Jesuit priest and a native of Athirampuzha, was abducted by dacoits from the Chambaran forests in Bihar and was released nine days later.
Fr. Chakkalakal tried to free the people at Rathanpura in Bihar who worked as slaves for the landlords there. Infuriated by this, one of the landlords had instructed the dacoits to kidnap the priest. Though the dacoits demanded Rs 2 lakh as compensation for releasing Fr. Chakkalakal, he was abandoned in the forest nine days later when the kidnappers understood that they wouldn't get the demanded amount.
The prime minister himself intervened in this case after the then chief minister K. Karunakaran vehemently pressurized the Center.