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Geeta’s return brings hope for Pak boy Ramzan stuck in India

Bhopal: The government has set the ball rolling for repatriating a 15-year-old Pakistani boy, Ramzan, stuck here for more than two years in a story resembling that of Geeta, the hearing and speech impaired girl who returned home from the neighbouring country last week after over a decade-long separation from her family.

“Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Director Sugandh Rajaram contacted me over phone two days ago and asked about Mohammad Ramzan, who hails from Karachi and had got separated from his mother some five years ago… He (Rajaram) asked me to send a petition to facilitate the return of Ramzan,” said Archana Sahay, who is taking care of the Pakistani boy since October 2013.

She is running an NGO ‘Aarambh’ in whose shelter home, Umeed, Ramzan is staying.

Ramzan’s ordeal started when his father, Mohammad Kazol divorced his mother Begum Razia in 2009. He and his father moved to Bangladesh after that. His father remarried a woman in Bangladesh, who started ill- treating Ramzan.

About 30 months back, Ramzan sneaked into India after someone advised him to do so. The run-away boy landed in Ranchi and after wandering in Mumbai, and New Delhi reached Bhopal station where the police caught him and handed him over to Umeed.

“I have come to know that Rajaram will take up the issue with his Pakistan counterpart shortly to facilitate Ramzan’s return,” said Ms Sahay.

“A fortnight ago, I contacted (MEA) with the help of their website but it turned down my plea. But now with Geeta’s return, they seem to have become active on Ramzan’s issue,” she added.

Asked about the boy, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson had on Friday said that there were some issues with the nationality of the boy. Once Pakistan verifies his nationality, the decks would be cleared for his return to that country, he had added.

Ramzan’s story is similar to Geeta, who was reportedly just seven or eight years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station.

She was adopted by the Edhi Foundation’s Bilquis Edhi and lived with her in Karachi. She returned to India on October 26 but was unable to recognise her family.

Right now, Geeta is staying in an institute for speech and hearing impaired people in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore district.