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Govt expels Spanish nun after 50 years of social service

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An 86-year-old Spanish nun was forced to return to her country after the Indian government rejected her visa renewal application, leaving residents of a village in Gajapati district of Odisha distraught.

According to Odisha TV, Sister Enedina had been providing health and other services to locals of the Aliganda village for almost 50 years. After her visa application was rejected, she was informed on August 11 that she had ten days to leave the country. According to reports, she left to Spain from New Delhi on August 20.

Sister Enedina has a medical degree from Madrid Capital Medical College and came to Berhampur in 1966, where she was a social service worker for about five years. She then went to Aliganda in 1971, where she set up a dispensary and provided healthcare services to locals, according to Odisha TV. Another sister, Swarnalata Pradhan told the website that the village is “very sad as she is going to leave us. She used to take care of the residents of this area like her children.”

Locals hoped the government would do something to ensure that Sister Enedina continues to stay and work in Aliganda. Mahima Nayak, a student who stays in a hostel set up by the sister, told Odisha TV that Enedima provided them with food and house. “She even helped children of the area to get an education,” said Mahima Nayak. Apart from establishing a dispensary, Enedina also set up a high school in 1996 and a primary school in 2009. A hostel that was constructed by her provided food and lodging to students who came from distant areas to study at the schools, according to Odisha TV.

According to ucanews.com, a ministry official said there would not be any comments on specific cases. “A visa, as a rule, is often denied if it is incompatible with the purpose of the visit as mentioned in the visa application of the applicant,” the official said. “The government, like any other government, believes that the right to grant visas remains the sole prerogative of the host country concerned.”