Sister Panimalar is a character in 80 Days. She is a nun of the order of the Sisters of Didacus in Madras. The Sisters of Didacus are a Catholic sect who believe that automatons have the potential to have souls and by extension worship God, conflicting directly with the Pope's views that automatons are abominations.
She is a prominent member of the Didacian Sisters and is determined to complete their mission to find an automaton with a soul and prove their beliefs right, despite being labeled as heretics by some for going against the Pope. While she does truly believe that there is a control shard with a soul engraved on it somewhere, she detests the Artificer's Guild and their mindless automatons, referring to them as "godless creations".
Recently she has taken a more active approach to finding a shard with a soul by enlisting the help of travelers against their will, offering them a blessing to gain their trust before hitting them over the head with her solid gold rosary. Those who wake up do so in the church of the Sisters of Didacus with Sister Panimalar waiting to enlist their help.
This is how she meets Passepartout while he and his master are in Madras, recognizing him as a worldly man and asking him for help in finding an automaton with a soul. She offers a large reward for such a shard, or even information that will lead the Sisters to the automaton in question. He can choose whether or not to help the Sisters, and while there he can question Sister Panimalar on the morality of kidnapping, which she justifies as doing God's work.
Later, after leaving the city, Passepartout can read in the news about another death courtesy of the "Madras Head-Smasher", apparently referring to Sister Panimalar.