Geeta meets PM Modi ,After returning from Pakistan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met Geeta, a hearing and speech impaired Indian woman who arrived this morning, at his official 7, Race Course Road (RCR) residence here.
Geeta arrived at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, along with five members of the Edhi Foundation, which has been taking care of her during her stay in Pakistan.She had accidentally strayed into Pakistan at the age of 11 and was handed over to the Edhi Foundation by Police, who found her at Lahore railway station.
The Mahto family from a small village in Bihar was waiting to be reunited with Geeta who they believe is their long-lost daughter Hira.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj thanked the Edhi foundation founders Abdul Sattar and Bilquis Edhi for taking care of Geeta and safeguarding her religion.
Geeta, the young Indian woman who came back home in India on Monday after spending more than a decade in Pakistan, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. Geeta had accidentally crossed the border over 10 years ago when she was a child and was in Pakistan since then.Senior diplomats from the Pakistan high commission received Geeta on her arrival at Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi.
Geeta was just 7 or 8 years old when Pakistan Rangers found her sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express at the Lahore railway station, over 10 years ago. She went missing from Kartarpur near Jalandhar, where she had gone to a Baisakhi fair. She’s deaf and unable to speak. At the time, her father reportedly worked as a mason in Punjab.
Geeta was adopted by the Karachi-based Edhi Foundation’s Bilquees Edhi. She lived with Edhi in Karachi. Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit had planned a reception for Geeta on Monday evening but it has been cancelled in the wake of a major earthquake that jolted south Asia, killing more than 70 people in Pakistan.
“Don’t think any amount of words are enough to thank Edhi family for taking care of Geeta. They are apostles of kindness and compassion,” PM Modi tweeted after meeting Geeta.Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj thanked the Pakistan government and the NGO who took care of the deaf and mute girl.
“I thank government of Pakistan and the NGO who took care of Geeta in Pakistan all these years… I thank them from the bottom of my heart,” Swaraj said while addressing a press conference in New Delhi.
Geeta identified her father, step-mother and siblings from a photograph sent to her by the Indian high commission in Islamabad. Her family reportedly lives in Bihar. Indian high commissioner to Pakistan, TCA Raghavan and his wife visited Geeta in August, after Sushma Swaraj directed him to meet her and to try locate her family.
The Indian high commission said that Geeta will be handed over to her family in India only if DNA tests show she’s related to the family members. If the DNA test is inconclusive she will be accommodated at one of two institutions that are located in Delhi and Indore.
Janardhan Mahato, who has been identified by Geeta as her father, expressed confidence that he will pass the DNA test for sure. “They can take a DNA test or whatever they want. I am not running anywhere. I will pass the DNA test,” Mahato said.