Swaraj asks Raghavan to meet Indian woman stuck in Pakistan

NEW DELHI: Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj directed India’s Ambassador to Pakistan Dr TCA Raghavan to pursue the case of a hearing and speech-impaired Indian woman who has been stranded in Pakistan for at least 15 years, said a re-port published on Hindustan Times.

In a post on Twitter on Monday, Swaraj said: “I have asked Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr TCA Raghavan to go to Karachi with Mrs Raghavan and meet this girl.”

She was responding to Ansar Burney’s tweet who, following the success of Bollywood flick Bajrangi Bhaijaan which features Salman Khan overcoming all odds to take a deaf and mute girl back to her relatives in Pakistan, has launched a fresh campaign to reunite the woman with her family in India.

Burney, who will be in India in September to meet the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, acknowledged the fresh effort to find the woman’s parents was because of the success of the film in both countries.

Burney jokingly said it seemed the Bollywood film was inspired by his efforts in 2012 to find Geeta’s family during a visit to India.

HT had earlier reported efforts of Pakistani activists to unite the woman with her parents and relatives.

While no one knows the real name of the girl, activists refer to her as Geeta.

“I went to India three years ago with photos and video of Geeta to try and find her family but I couldn’t trace any leads. My trust has started a cross-border campaign to try and find Geeta’s relatives so that she can be handed over to them,” Burney told Hindustan Times on phone from Britain.

Geeta now lives with Bilquis Edhi. This information has been in-dependently verified by Dawn.com.

“The girl, whose age is about 22 to 24, keeps telling me through gestures that she wants to fly back home in an airplane. Some-times, she cries a lot. I pray to Allah that she is reunited with her family soon,” Bilquis told Hindustan Times.

The woman apparently entered Lahore on a train from India al-most 15 years ago. She was found by police and sent to a state-run shelter.

Geeta’s inability to communicate caused a lot of frustration and she was moved from one welfare home to another as she often tried to escape and quarrelled with staff, Bilquis said.

“Efforts made by the authorities to trace her family in India pro-duced no results and she was finally sent to Karachi. She looks much younger than her actual age because she’s very short,” she said.

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