Back From Pakistan, Geeta Doesn't Recognize Family; DNA Test Ahead

26/10/2015 11:06 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Geeta, a deaf Indian woman who accidentally crossed over to Pakistan more than a decade ago, finally arrived in New Delhi on Monday.

However, the girl now has refused to recognize her family after meeting them.

In a press conference, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "No matter if we find her (Geeta's) parents or not, she is a daughter of India and we will take care of her."

Swaraj, however, said that a DNA test will be done to determine Geeta's family. "Look, if DNA test show that Mahato family is really hers then we will counsel her and try to convince her," Swaraj said.

The External Affairs Ministry said that even if they find Geeta's parents, they will request them to let her stay in an Indore institution for 2 years so that her sign language improves and she becomes 'economically independent.'

Geeta had earlier identified her father, step-mother and siblings from a photograph sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The family reportedly lives in Bihar.

The 20-year-old girl said that she's very happy to be back in India.

In the press conference, Swaraj said, "The Edhi family who have accompanied Geeta to New Delhi are India's state guests." Bilquees Edhi, from the Edhi Foundation, had adopted Geeta in Karachi.

Edhi, in turn, said that "Today is like Eid" for her.

"First we named her Fatima but she would cry, fall at my feet and ask for puja bell, then realized she's Hindu," Edhi said talking about Geeta.

Swaraj also said that the government is very grateful as the foundation helped Geeta keep her traditions alive. "Geeta never even ate non-vegetarian food," she said.

The government will take the Edhi family around Delhi. "We will take them (members of Edhi foundation) to Ajmer Sharif, to Nizamuddin Auliya, wherever they want to go," she said.

When asked why the delay of so many years to bring Geeta back home, the Foreign Minister said, "Hum do hazaar chaudah may aaye."

Earlier in the day, Swaraj tweeted, "Geeta - Welcome home our daughter."

Geeta arrived from Karachi by Pakistan International Airlines Flight 272 at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi at around 10:20 am. She was reportedly just 7 or 8 years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station.

The Indian High Commission had on Sunday said that Geeta would be handed over to her family only if their DNA test matched.

"If the DNA test of the family (who claims to be Geeta's family) matches with Geeta's DNA, she will be handed over to them. If the DNA test does not match then, Geeta will be taken care by a good organisation till she meets her family," the second secretary of the Indian High Commission in Pakistan, PK Jain told the media.

BBC Hindi's Salman Ravi who had travelled to the Kabeera Dhaap village in Bihar which was supposedly Geeta's home before she was lost, reported that there's a lot of excitement at the home of Janardhan Mahato who has claimed that Geeta is his long-lost daughter Heera. He said Heera was lost in a fair in Ludhiana.

"We are absolutely sure that Geeta is our Heera. We have seen her grow up in the village. We saw her get married and then she left with her husband for Ludhiana. We know the DNA test will establish our claim," villager Edison Mahato told Ravi.

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