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Home > News > Report

Gladys focuses on Staines's work

Giridhar Gopal in Bhubaneswar | September 14, 2003 14:00 IST

The widow of slain Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines is keeping alive his mission of helping leprosy patients in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.

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Staines case judgment on September 15

Gladys Staines continues to work at the home for leprosy patients set up by her late husband back in 1982 at Baripada in Orissa's tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district.

"When he was alive, the number of inmates at the home was 60 to 70," Staines told in a telephone interview from Baripada. "Some have left after being cured, but new patients come in, so the number remains the same."

Most of the inmates are tribals, with a couple of Christians. "We do not discriminate amongst them," Staines, a native of Queensland, Australia, said. "We allow them in irrespective of caste or religion."

Staines met her husband while she was serving on a youth mission in Orissa back in the early 1980s. They were married in 1983. Sixteen years later, the Reverend Staines and their two young sons, Philip and Timothy, were burnt to death by a mob allegedly comprising Bajrang Dal activists while they were asleep in their vehicle at Manoharpur village in neighbouring Keonjhar district.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which probed the incident, filed charges against 18 persons, including prime accused Dara Singh. The trial court is scheduled to pronounce judgment in the case on Monday, September 15.

More on the Staines case

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Key witness identifies Dara

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Staines refused to comment on the murder trial. "I have forgiven the persons who killed my husband and sons," she said. "I don't think on that matter anymore."

Asked if she isn't scared to work in the same area where her husband and sons were brutally murdered, Staines said, "Why should I be afraid? Here people support us and I do not want to disappoint them. After all, they need to be taken care of."

Even her sole surviving child Esther, who is currently studying medicine, wants to serve the poor and has not been disheartened or embittered by the fate that met her father and younger brothers, she said.

But Gladys Staines misses her husband a lot. "When your companion dies, it is difficult," she said. "All of us miss them. He was involved in the day-to-day activities and his absence is felt everywhere. The hospital, patients, those whom he served, also miss him, particularly the old staff members here."

As for building a memorial to Graham Staines at Manoharpur, she said, "I do not know if somebody is interested. Right now I do not have any such plan."

More reports from Orissa
Read about: Graham Staines Murder Case

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 27

Sub: A good human being

Gladys Staines had the courage and the conviction to pardon and forgive the same people who killed her husband and sons.She has risen above all ...

Posted by Nazeeb Ehsan Ali

Sub: Spreading the message of Love and not a religion--Graham Staines

Dear All, I would like to stress on the fact that we should all think in terms of being humans first and not as Christians ...

Posted by Nicola Mahapatra

Sub: To err is human, to forgive is divine !

Ms. Gladys has surpassed divinity ! God bless Gladys ! And its good that the anti-social elements are rightly punished !

Posted by Giridhar Ganeshan

Sub: staines murder

Christian work must continue in India, it is not about converting it is about service to the less fortunate and marginalised people. Christianity came to ...

Posted by chris

Sub: at last ......

After four and half years of "invetigation" justice has arrived. But we should appreciate Gladys Staines for forgiving dara singh. May GOD help her and ...

Posted by Joseph



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