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    Published On : Mon, Oct 26th, 2015
    National News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

    Geeta from Pakistan reaches International Airport Delhi; to be united with family


    New Delhi/ Nagpur: What may be called a home coming after some 15 years after she strayed across the border in a train and was stranded in Pakistan, speech and hearing impaired Geeta made an emotional return to India on Monday to be reunited with her family.

    Geeta flew into the International Airport in Delhi on a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Karachi at 10.20 am, accompanied by five representatives of the Edhi Foundation, including Bilqees Edhi, the Pakistani woman who cared for her and led a campaign for her return to India.

    Before boarding the flight in Karachi, a beaming Geeta, clad in a red and white salwar-kameez, used sign language to thank the Pakistani people for hosting her and caring for her.

    Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s largest charity, told reporters they would stay in touch with Geeta through social media and even visit her. “She is not really separating from us,” he said.

    Geeta, believed to be 23 now, was received at the airport by officials from the external affairs ministry and senior Pakistani diplomats. In a rare gesture, the Indian government will treat the representatives of the Karachi-based charity as state guests.

    In the evening, Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit and his wife will host a reception for Geeta and those accompanying her.
    Though Geeta is convinced about the family in Bihar which has claimed her, she will be handed over only after DNA tests. If the tests turn out negative, she will be placed in a home either in Delhi or Indore.

    Indian authorities are proceeding cautiously, according to MEA sources, because at least four families had come forward to claim her. The woman apparently entered the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on a train from India almost 15 years ago. She was found by police and sent to a state-run shelter.

    She was then moved from one shelter to another – because she often tried to escape and quarrelled with staff – before she arrived at the Edhi Foundation. It was Bilqees Edhi who named her Geeta.

    Geeta’s story evoked considerable media interest in India and Pakistan, especially after the Bollywood film Bajrangi Bhaijan – which features Salman Khan as an Indian overcoming all odds to reunite a speech and hearing-impaired girl with her family in Pakistan – became a hit in August.

    “We are happy that finally she is going home,” said Faisal Edhi, the son of Edhi Foundation chief Abdul Sattar Edhi. The foundation said it had got an assurance from Indian authorities that its representatives could remain in New Delhi till DNA tests to confirm Geeta’s parentage are completed.
    Geeta identified her family through a photograph sent to her by the Indian high commission in Islamabad. The family reportedly is from Bihar.

    “This is my father, and my younger brother,” Geeta told the media through a combination of sign language and facial expressions as she pointed to the photograph. She also showed off the clothes she plans to wear for Diwali next month – a scarlet blouse and a turquoise and heavily embroidered ghagra.

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