Geeta, now 21, was found by Pakistan rangers 13 years ago, sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express in Lahore that had come across the Wagah border. Photo via Twitter
Islamabad - Family of mute Indian girl stuck in Pakistan based in India’s Bihar state.
Published: Thu 15 Oct 2015, 11:36 AM
Last updated: Fri 16 Oct 2015, 3:25 AM
A mute and deaf Indian girl who has been stuck in Pakistan for more than a decade because she cannot remember where she came from may have finally identified her family, the charity looking after her said on Thursday. The new ray of hope for the woman known only as Geeta, believed to be in her early 20s, came after the Indian High Commission in Islamabad sent her a photograph of a family, whom she said she recognised. The Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s largest charity who has been caring for Geeta since she was found 13 years ago, said it was trying to arrange a Skype video call with the family, reported to be based somewhere in India’s Bihar state, to confirm their relationship. Also read: Geeta may be kept at a Delhi facility on repatriation from Pakistan “The Indian high commissioner has lately sent a family photo to us and Geeta has recognised the family,” Anwer Kazmi, a senior official at the foundation, said. “We hope she will confirm the family identification during the Skype chat through sign language,” Kazmi said. Kazmi said Bilqees Edhi, wife of Edhi Foundation founder Abdul Sattar Edhi, hoped to accompany Geeta along with several other members of the Edhi family to India before the end of October. “We are expecting to get visas for all very soon and hope that on October 26 Geeta would fly back home,” he said Geeta was 11 or 12 when she was found by police alone and disorientated with no identity papers on a train that had crossed the border from India into the eastern city of Lahore. She was believed to have strayed into Pakistani territory by mistake, but could not remember or explain exactly where she was from. Unable to identify her or her family, Pakistani police handed her over to the Edhi Foundation. She now lives in one of the foundation’s shelters in Karachi. Even the name “Geeta” was given to her by Edhi staff. Also read: Salman bats for Indian girl stranded in Pakistan The Indian government confirmed Geeta would return and said DNA tests would be used to confirm her relation to the family. “If DNA testing verifies that they are indeed her parents, then she will be handed over to them,” Vikas Swarup, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, told a Press conference in New Delhi. “Our bringing her back does not depend on whether or not we discover her parents. She is a daughter of India... we will be bringing her back very, very shortly,” Swarup said, without specifying a date. In August the Indian government pledged to bring Geeta home, prompted by media coverage of a smash hit Bollywood film. — AFP Also read: I miss mom, dad a lot, says Indian girl in Karachi