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In a heartwarming gesture, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday virtually attended the wedding of an HIV-positive couple.
District Collector Vijay Kulange, who was present at the wedding venue, performed 'kanyadaan' and presented a cheque to the newlyweds. The wedding took place in Gopalpur in Odisha's Ganjam district.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief also interacted with the bride and groom through video-conference and blessed the couple virtually.
The bride, Padma, and the groom, Rabindra, were inmates in a daycare home in Odisha. They stayed there till they completed their education. At present, both of them are working in Hyderabad.
"It will send a strong message to the society, that HIV-positive persons have all types of capabilities and they deserve to live with dignity," Ganjam District Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange told India Today.
The District Collector also said that the couple is happy that the CM took time from his busy schedule and attended the wedding live through video conferencing and blessed them.
HIV-positive individuals often face social stigma and discrimination. Under such situations, the district administration's efforts and Odisha CM attention to the wedding would send out a strong message to those who discriminate against HIV-positive people.
At present, Odisha has around 49,000 people who live with HIV/AIDS. According to the Government of India's HIV estimates report, the country is estimated to have around 23.49 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in 2019.
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