Geeta given rousing welcome in Indore

Indore: Geeta, the deaf and mute girl who returned to India yesterday over a decade after inadvertently crossing into Pakistan, was accorded a grand welcome at the Ahilyabai Holkar airport here tonight. Former State Minister Archita Chitnis, Indore Mayor Malini Gaud and several other political leaders received her.

From the airport, she was taken to the premises of the institution for hearing-impaired where she would be staying for the time being. At the institute, she was greeted by children who were eagerly waiting for her arrival.

At the function organised by the institute to welcome her, Union Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot, who accompanied her to the city from New Delhi, assured that the government will extend all possible help to Geeta for her future life.

Geeta, who had accidentally crossed over to Pakistan over a decade ago, had returned here to a grand welcome yesterday. However, she had failed to recognise a family which she had initially identified from photographs.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, addressing a press conference yesterday, had said Geeta refused to recognise the Mahato couple from Bihar which she had identified from photographs earlier.

Swaraj said Geeta will be kept in the Indore institution for hearing-impaired people till her “real family” was found. Geeta 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.

She was adopted by the Edhi Foundation’s Bilquis Edhi and lived with her in Karachi.

Her story came to light after the release of Salman Khan starrer ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ in which the hero unites a girl separated from her Pakistani mother who was visiting India.