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Deaf-mute Indian stuck in Pakistan sees hope
August 06, 2015
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KARACHI: Deaf and mute, Geeta has been stuck in Pakistan for 13 years, unable to return to her native India because she cannot remember or explain exactly where she is from.

But after repeated false dawns, Geeta has new reason to hope.

Following fresh media coverage the Indian government this week pledged to bring her home, in an echo of the Bollywood film Bajrangi Bhaijaan, featuring superstars Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The film tells the mirror image of Geeta’s story — a mute young Pakistani woman who ends up trapped in India.

Geeta, aged in her early 20s, lives in a women’s shelter in Karachi run by the Edhi Foundation, Pakistan’s largest welfare organisation. News of her plight surfaced in 2012 but no progress was made in tracing her roots.

India’s High Commissioner (ambassador) to Pakistan TCA Raghavan visited Geeta on Tuesday evening to collect preliminary information which could help track down her home and parents.

It is still unclear how long the formalities will take or whether her home town has been identified.

Although she cannot speak, Geeta can write the words “Telangana,” the name of a state in southern India, and “Peddavura,” the name of a village, in Hindi along with the number 193. Edhi officials speculate this may have been the number of her house.

Her memory of how she came to be in Pakistan is hazy and her account, communicated through improvised sign language, has changed over time.

Geeta, then aged 11 or 12, had no identity papers when she was found by police alone and disorientated on a train that had crossed the border into the eastern city of Lahore. Even the name Geeta was given to her by Edhi staff.

Raghavan, the Indian high commissioner, said he was confident Geeta’s family would soon be traced despite recent tensions between the two nations.

“There have been ups and downs in the relations between the two countries, but the relations of humanity always remain intact,” he told reporters after meeting Geeta.

Geeta watched the Salman movie recently, Edhi said, breaking down in tears at the climactic scene when the heroine is reunited with her mother -- and leaving more determined than ever to go home.

Agence France-Presse

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