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Quiet Indian Catholic pocket shocked by royal hoax nurse's death

Published on Dec 17, 2012 6:57 PM

SHIRVA, India (AFP) - She may have left years ago, but Ms Jacintha Saldanha's death has been felt deeply among Catholic communities in south-west India, her birthplace, where many families depend on remittances from abroad.

This coastal stretch of the country, where the nurse's body will be laid to rest, is a stronghold of devout Catholicism in Hindu-majority India and has seen streams of locals leave for foreign shores seeking better paid jobs.

Many were returning home to spend Christmas with their families as Ms Saldanha's body was brought back for her funeral following her apparent suicide after answering the infamous royal hoax call to the London hospital where she worked.

"This is a time of celebration, Christmas and the wedding season. Nobody expected this," said teacher Alwyn Danthy in Shirva, the small hometown of Saldanha's husband Benedict Barboza and her final resting place.

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