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Renowned Indian nun doctor killed in train accident

Sacred Heart Sr Alphonsa Chelapurath was one of 38 passengers burned to death on Thursday morning when an Amritsar bound train caught fire.

The 53 year old medical doctor had been at the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) on Wednesday to complete visa formalities for travel to Washington, DC to participate in a Health Conference organised by Global Health Council.

14 other passengers were seriously injured when the train, the Frontier Mail, caught fire at 3:15 am near Ludhiana in Punjab state. Railway Board security member H.C. Gupta told reporters that early investigations show that a cooking stove burst in a coach and caused the fire.

Sr Alphonsa was the President of Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh Catholic Health Associations (RUPCHA) which has been catering to the needs of various health centres in North India for many years.

She did her medical studies from Aachen, Germany, specialising in gynecology. She was also the chief physician at Sacred Heart Hospital in Jalandhar. More recently, her focus has been on AIDS patients.

The CBCI's Health Commission Executive Secretary Fr Alex Vadakumthala told SAR News: "She strongly believed that positive acceptance and concern will make a substantial difference in the lives of AIDS patients and that it is totally unchristian to turn down any patient who is infected with HIV/ AIDS."


CBCI _ Health Care

20 May 2003