Wife of Graham Staines to be honoured by NRI christians

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Dubai, May 1 (UNI) Gladys Staines, the wife of an Australian missionary who was burnt to death in Orissa along with their two sons allegedly by Hindu miscreants, is being honoured in Sharjah by the Gulf Malayalee Christian Writers Forum.

''My sons would have grown to be young men today,'' she told the Gulf News recalling the incident which took place at night when the victims were sleeping in their vehicle in the village of Manoharpur in Orissa. Gladys, 56, is to attend the function today.

She lives in Queensland in Australia with her daughter and makes occasional visits to India to look after the running of the Graham Staines Memorial Hospital, which was established in 2004.

''The hospital was established in the memory of my late husband who had been living in India for decades and was actively involved in caring for leprosy patients. It is a 10-bed hospital and mostly we get outpatients,'' she said.

''Leprosy patients who go for treatment to normal hospitals do not get adequate care because of the stigma that is attached with the disease. But now with all the awareness campaigns run by the state and the central government in India, things are changing gradually for these leprosy patients,'' she added.

Ms Gladys, who was conferred the Indian civilian award the Padmashree for her social service towards leprosy patients in India, said she has forgiven the people who destroyed her family.

''I do not have any bitterness. Those who have killed my family, I have forgiven them right away. My daughter and I do miss my family,'' she said.

''Also there was overwhelming support from the Indian population.

They wrote to me not to hold any hatred against them as those who committed the gruesome crime do not belong anywhere,'' she added.

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