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‘No ransom paid’ for release of Uzhunnalil

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Federal Minister of State for External Affairs general VK Singh on Wednesday said no ransom was paid for the release of Kerala Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnalil.

The priest, who was abducted by Daish terrorists from Aden in March last year, was brought to Muscat on Tuesday. He has reached the Vatican, said a Church spokesperson on Wednesday.

On a question when the priest is expected to return to India, the minister said: “He (Tom) will have to decide that.”

Meanwhile, Singh clarified that Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran was denied the permission to visit China as he was going to meet an official much lower in rank.

“Whenever there is an application for a visit abroad, the opinion of embassy and missions there are sought and if the protocol arrangements are not correct, permission is not granted,” Singh said.

“In this case, the minister was supposed to meet a person lower in rank than him. The minister of one state in our country does not go to another state to meet an official,” he said, adding that the prestige of the country is more important.

On September 8, Surendran had created a row soon after his request to visit China to participate in a UN World Tourism Organisation meeting was declined by the federal government.

Indo-Asian News Service