Geeta, the hearing and speech impaired woman who crossed into Pakistan by accident as a child, returned to India after 12 years in 2015 has finally found her family in Maharashtra.
Her story came to the limelight when she returned to India on October 26, 2015 after intervention by the then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. She was lodged at an institute for hearing and speech-impaired run by an Indore-based NGO.
After searching for more than five years, Geeta's family was found in Parbhani, Maharashtra. She is now being trained in sign language by Pahal, an NGO that supports the hearing and speech impaired, in Parbhani.
According to NDTV, Dr Anand Selgaokar of Pahal handed over Geeta to Anand Services Society (ASS), an Indore-based NGO, on July 20, 2020. Gyanendra Purohit from ASS first visited Parbhani in December last year.
During the last five years, at least a dozen families from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, and Rajasthan were screened after they claimed to be Geeta's parents.
Purohit said that their search led them to Meena Waghmare (71), who used to live in Jintur, Parbhani when her daughter Radha (Geeta) went missing.
"Meena told us her daughter had a burn mark on her stomach, and when we verified, it turned out to be real," Purohit stated. Sudhakar Waghmare, Geeta's father and Meena's first husband, died a few years back, and she now lives near Aurangabad with her second husband, he added.
Meena's eyes filled with tears as she saw Geeta for the first time, he said. However, Geeta did not comprehend a word of what Meena said as she communicates only through sign language.
Selgaonkar said it is most likely that Geeta reached Parbhani and boarded the Sachkhand Express to Amritsar and later boarded the Delhi-Lahore Samjhauta Express.
According to the Pakistani newspaper The Dawn, Geeta had contacted the Edhi Welfare organisation in Pakistan. She informed them that she had finally found her family after more than five years in India.
Bilquees Edhi, the wife of late Abdul Sattar Edhi, who runs the world-renowned Edhi Welfare Trust, said Geeta was in touch with her this weekend and told her the good news about meeting her biological mother.
Edhi said that they had found her at a Karachi Railway Station when she was about 12-year-old. They gave her shelter at the Edhi Centre.
"Geeta lived at the Edhi centre for years and I took care of her, and we called her Fatima. Later, when I knew she was a Hindu, we named her Geeta, and we talked properly by sign language even though she couldn't understand or hear," she said.
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