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India: nun honoured for outstanding work

 A Catholic nun has been honoured for outstanding work among prisoners in Southern India.

Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sister Leena Kattookaren received the first Deenabandhu (Friend of the Poor) award from famous Hindu film producer Tanguturi Vijaychander.

Known in the state as the "mother of prisoners" and "Mother Teresa of Hyderabad", Sister Kattookaren heads a team of 250 volunteers who regularly visit the prison to provide counselling and prayers for the inmates.

The former school headmistress took up the prison ministry after 23 years of teaching and received state approval to visit any prison in Andra Pradesh in 1999. She said the inspiration for her work comes from the Bible.

Mr Vijaychander's company Radha Chitra is known for movies that promote social, moral, human and spiritual values. He set up the new award scheme to encourage social work among the poor.