11 December 2016
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    » 12/30/2015, 00.00

    INDIA

    After almost 40 years caring for leprosy sufferers, India denies Sister Bertilla Capra a visa

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The Missionary of the Immaculate has lived in India for 44 years and since 1981 has been the director of the Vimala Dermatological Centre for the care and rehabilitation of leprosy sufferers in Versova (Mumbai).

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Indian government has denied visas to Sister Bertilla Capra, of the Missionaries of the Immaculate,who has spent the past 44 years in India caring for people suffering from leprosy.

    The interior ministry of Maharashtra has made clear that it is not about deportation or expulsion: her visa expired and was not renewed because the rules have changed. The nun, in charge of Vimala Dermatological Centre in Mumbai for over 35 years, must now apply for a "different category of visa", or she will not be able to stay in India and will have to return to Italy for good.

    The new rules are not clear and - according to some Indian personalities - the same regional office for foreigners in Mumbai "is not helpful."

    The Vimala Dermatological Centre is located in Versova and since 1976 provides care, surgery, rehabilitation for leprosy patients. To date it has cured tens of thousands of people and is still home to 80 patients and 75 children.

    The sisters who work in the Centre are shocked by the letter received from Sister Bertilla, in she is being asked to leave India immediately.

    Sister Tessie, who works with Sister Bertilla, told AsiaNews: "Until 2010 her visa was renewed every five years, then annually. This time, last November, her request for renewal was refused. She asked for at least a temporary visa for three months to find a solution, but was denied this. "

    Today Sister Bertilla left for Delhi, hoping for a meeting with Rajnath Singh, Union Minister of Interior.

    Sister Bertilla Capra, a native of Bergamo, is 77 years old and has been in India since 1970. For decades she worked among people suffering from leprosy not only offering medical care, but also spiritual, educating patients' families and wider society to combat the marginalization of people who have Hansen’s disease.

    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai
    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai


    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai
    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai


    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai
    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai


    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai
    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai


    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai
    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai


    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai
    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai


    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai
    Vimala Dermatological Centre - Mumbai


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    See also

    22/01/2016 10:52:00 INDIA
    Sister Bertilla Capra receives a one-year Indian visa

    From now on, the missionary of the Immaculate has to apply for a new visa every year, as an NGO employee. The Vimala Dermatological Centre is supported by local people. Among them are Hindus, Christians and Muslims.



    30/01/2005 VATICAN
    Children and young people can be peacemakers too, says the Pope
    World Leprosy Day is remembered.

    29/01/2005 ASIA - World Leprosy Day
    Leprosy in Asia and the world: An overview
    Asia is the most leprosy-affected continent. The Church is committed to helping and healing sufferers in more than 800 leprosy care centres.

    22/01/2009 INDIA - LEPROSY 2009
    Fr. Carlo Torriani: 40 years of hope among lepers of Mumbai
    India has 70% of all leprosy cases worldwide. The story of a missionary of the PIME who since the 1970's has built hundreds of clinics in the slums of Mumbai, and has founded an association to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease. Today he lives in a small community of 40 people, some of them terminally ill and others healed. A testimony on the occasion of the 56th world day for those sick with leprosy.

    27/07/2011 INDIA
    Government u-turn: Bangalore "Mother Teresa" can stay in India
    Sister Jean: "Crazy with joy." A "mistake" committed by the immigration office, and the Interior Minister P. Chidambaran has renewed her visa as "indefinitely". Thanks to the Global Council of Indian Christians and the lepers of the centre where the English missionary works.



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