NEW DELHI: Geeta, the speech and hearing impaired Indian girl who had accidentally crossed the Indo-Pak border and was in Pakistan for the last 15 years, was brought back to New Delhi on Monday morning.
Dressed in a red salwar suit, Geeta, now 23, was welcomed by Indian officials, Pakistani diplomats and her relatives and greeted by a multitude of cheering people at the IGI airport on her arrival escorted by five members of the
Edhi Foundation. Geeta looked happy, putting on a smile and with a thumps up!
Manzoor Ali Memon, Media Head, and Ayesha Ahsan, Political Counsellor, both of the Pakistan High Commission, received Geeta on behalf of the Pakistan High Commission.
"A daughter returns home. Geeta arrives in New Delhi accompanied by members of Edhi Foundation," Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup announced in his tweet.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan, a Salman Khan movie, had inadventenlty facilitated a fresh lease of life for Geeta.
Pakistan's High Commissioner Abdul Basit was scheduled to host a reception for Geeta and the Edhi delegation in the evening.
Geeta will be handed over to her real parents only after the DNA test. The Ministry of External Affairs has said that if the DNA does not match then she will be accommodated at either of the two identified institutions in Delhi and Indore.
The girl was reportedly just seven or eight years old when she was found alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. The police took Geeta to the Edhi Foundation in Lahore and later she was shifted to Karachi. Geeta was adopted by the Edhi Foundation and was living with them in Karachi.(READ: Thank you, Sushma: Edhi's Faisal)
Geeta was identified by her father, stepmother and siblings from a photograph sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
She was unable to identify herself when she was found strayed in.
Edhi Foundation is Pakistan's largest welfare organisation. In fact, the name Geeta was given to her by Edhi staff.
Faisal Edhi, son of the foundation's founder Abdul Sattar Edhi, told media outside the charity's office in downtown Karachi, "We are happy that finally she is going home," according to reports.
Geeta was escorted by Bilqees Edhi, wife of the organisation's founder, and Saba Edhi, her daughter-in-law. They will keep in touch.
In fact Geeta's prospects had looked bright when Bollywood film, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, with a similar storyline, was released, with Indian superstars Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor in leading role. That was the life story of a young Pakistani woman trapped in India being helped back.
Even as the Indian government came on the scene, several families came forward claiming Geeta as their daughter. However, she recognised one family from Bihar. Geeta had reportedly identified her father, step-mother and siblings from a photograph sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The MEA had
sent all the claimants' photographs.
Till the DNA test results come, she will be kept at a government institution.