Balasore: A Russian couple stranded in Odisha amid the COVID-19 outbreak, have appealed to the state government to stay here permanently.
The couple, Voronov Sergei and his wife Andrianova Tatiana, told the media on Saturday that they had come to India on a six-month tourist visa on October 23, 2019.
In February, they visited Puri. The couple was influenced by the Jagannath cult and the culture of Odisha and embraced Hinduism with guidance from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
The two Russians, who are engineers by profession, came to Remuna in Balasore district to visit the Khirachora Gopinath temple. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, they could not return to their homeland after the expiry of their tourist visa.
The couple is presently residing on the premises of the Khirachora Gopinath temple and expressed their willingness to permanently stay in Odisha.
However, they said that the people in Remuna are not willing to allow them to stay on rent as they have no valid documents. As a result, they are staying inside the temple.
“We are no more willing to return to Russia and want to stay in Odisha and serve the people of the state. We request the Government of India to allow us to stay in Odisha as permanent citizens,” they added.
On Friday, the couple met Balasore Collector K Sudarshan Chakravarthy, who advised them to take up the matter with the State Home Department.