Geeta, Stuck in Pakistan for Over 10 Years, Arrives in Delhi
Geeta, dressed in a red and white salwar kameez, her head covered with a dupatta, travelled from Karachi to Delhi this morning, 11 years after she accidentally crossed over to Pakistan as a child.
At the Delhi airport, Geeta, who is hearing and speech challenged, beamed and waved, a bouquet of flowers in hand. She was accompanied from Karachi by the Edhi family, who run a charitable foundation and looked after her all these years.
The 23-year-old will soon meet Janardhan Mahato from Bihar, who she had earlier this month identified as her father from one of many photographs sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
Mr Mahato claims the young woman is his first born Heera, lost in a fair in 2004. A DNA test will be conducted in Delhi to establish whether Geeta is indeed his daughter.
Two members of the Mahato family were at the Delhi airport to receive Geeta, but could not meet her as she was swiftly whisked away. A press conference is likely to be held this evening.
In Karachi, Geeta was given an emotional farewell this morning as she boarded a Pakistan International Airlines flight to return home. Her foster family in Pakistan, the Edhis, have said they have been assured by the Indian government that they can remain in Delhi till the DNA tests are done.
Geeta was about 11 when she crossed from India into Pakistan. Exactly how is not clear but Geeta mimes an explosion and shows how she ducked and ran before being caught by armed men, according to Reuters.
As a child, she would point at maps, especially to an area south of Jharkhand until she was able to finally communicate that she was from India, not Pakistan.
Her story has been compared to the Salman Khan blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, about a little girl from Pakistan stuck in India. The actor plays Bajrangi, a man who made it his mission to take the girl to her family in Pakistan.
Geeta broke down on watching the film and yearned for home, something she shared with actor Salman Khan on NDTV. As Geeta’s story gained fresh media attention after the film, the Indian government vowed to bring her back in a movie-style happy ending.