Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, Keralite Catholic priest who was recently released from the captivity of Yemen terrorists, was honored by the Communist leader and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a public felicitation on 3rd October, 2017.  Pinarayi Vijayan also thanked the Sultanate of Oman and the Vatican for playing significant roles in ensuring the safe return of the priest.

As reported by, Pinarayi Vijayan remarked that “Society must guard against faith and spirituality giving way to communalism and extremism.” Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said “Fr. Tom will be known for his selfless service to the needy in a country that stared at an uncertain future and had no government or diplomatic mission.”

Replying to the felicitation and honor received, Fr. Tom said that religious harmony remained the greatest asset of India and reflected that “Even as I was known to be a Catholic priest, several people, cutting across religious divides, regarded me an Indian brother and prayed for my safety.”