Stranded Geeta has identified family in India: Edhi spokesmanPakistan
KARACHI: Geeta, a 23-year-old hearing and speech impaired Indian woman stranded in Pakistan and adopted by the Edhi Foundation's Bilquees Edhi, has identified her family in Bihar, Edhi Foundation spokesman Anwar Kazmi confirmed.
Geeta identified her father, step-mother and step-siblings in a photograph sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, NDTV reported.
She is likely to be flown home once her documents are sorted out.
Geeta was found by the Lahore police 13 years ago, sitting alone and disorientated on the Samjhota Express that had travelled across the border.
Officers took the girl to the Edhi Foundation in Lahore, where she remained while the charity tried to track down her family, but met with no success.
After she tried to escape several times and quarrelled with staff, Bilquees Edhi, who always had an easy relationship with her, brought her to Karachi six months ago and welcomed her into her own home.
Speaking through sign language, Geeta told AFP that one day she became annoyed after being told off by her parents, left the house and kept walking for hours.
"Then", she swings her hands back and forth in a loop, a sign for a moving train, "I boarded the train and slept."
Through sign language, she said her home is next to a river, set in fields with the house behind a hospital and a restaurant.
Geeta gets treated like a special inmate at the shelter, Dawn Newspaper reported. She has a private temple, her favorite space in the building – a spick and span room with posters of Hindu gods: Lord Krishna, Lord Rama and Sita, goddess Durga, Shiva and Parvati and a small statue of Lord Ganesha resting on a table, alongside with earthen lamps and incense. She likes to keep the doors of the temple locked and doesn't let other children enter the room.
Bilquees Edhi thinks of herself as Geeta's guardian. "Here in Pakistan, she is an amaanat of her parents with us," meaning that she is keeping her in trust for her parents as a custodian.
"She wants to go back because she misses them. And we want her wish to come true. But it has been more than 10 years. She is 23 years old now. I don’t know how much more she has to wait."
In August, the Indian High Commissioner Dr T.C.A. Raghavan and his wife, Mrs Raghavan, visited Geeta.
Dr Raghavan showed her pictures and maps of India too but she was unable to pinpoint the location from where she had come.
Geeta also scribbled in Sanskrit for him but he couldn't decipher what she had written as it didn’t seem like the usual script to him.
The High Commissioner had said that he would try everything within his power to find Geeta’s parents or relatives.
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"Geeta has made many friends at the Edhi Centre but she misses home. She makes hand signals to show that she wants to go home which, according to her, is surrounded by agriculture fields somewhere near a flowing river. She also makes signs to show an aeroplane flying high in which she wants to go back home," Mrs Edhi had earlier said.
"She misses home badly, even after so many years. She tells me she has four sisters and two brothers who are all normal, not deaf and mute like her. She also talks about her father and describes him as a very frail old man, who walked with a stick. God only knows if her parents are even alive now if they were that old 12 years ago. I have often encouraged her to move on with life. I have told her that I can find her a good husband, a Hindu boy if she likes, as she is of marriageable age now and no family has shown up looking for her until now but she doesn’t want that so for now I have let her be," Mrs Edhi had said.
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The Foreign Office in September said Pakistan is "fully cooperating" with the Indian High Commission for Geeta's return.
The FO had said that no condition had been set for Geeta to report to the foreign ministry for obtaining permission to travel back to her birthplace.
The Foreign Office is in contact with the Indian High Commission in this regard, a FO statement said.
But it went on to say it was the responsibility of the Indian side to prepare travel documents for the girl.
Also read: Pakistan fully cooperating with India for Geeta's return: FO