Deaf-mute woman stranded in Pakistan returns to India, refuses to recognise ‘family’

The deaf-mute Indian woman, who returned to her homeland after spending over a decade in Pakistan, has refused to recognise a man and his three sons who claimed to be her family members.

NEW DELHI, INDIA (OCTOBER 26, 2015) (ANI) – The deaf-mute Indian woman, who returned to her homeland after spending over a decade in Pakistan, refused to recognise a man and his three sons who claimed to be her family members.

Geeta, who was stranded in Pakistan for 13 years after wandering over one of the world’s most militarised borders, was brought to New Delhi on Monday (October 26) by Indian foreign ministry.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said Geeta would be sent to Mukh Badhir Sangathan, an institution for deaf-mute children, in central Indore city as she refused to recognise Janardan Mahto, whom she says she recognised from photos sent by the Indian High Commission in Pakistan.

“When we introduced them, Geeta has refused to recognise Mahto couple and their three sons, as her family. She said that they were not her parents. Their blood sample and hers have been sent for DNA testing. We are waiting for the DNA test because she was very young when she crossed over (to Pakistan). Their faces might have changed. This small doubt remains,” Swaraj said in New Delhi.

“We have decided to send Geeta to an institute in Indore with Monica. It is very renowned institution,” she added.

Geeta, through her translator, conveyed that she was very happy to be back in India.

“She (Geeta) said she wanted to be in India and she was very happy. She said she would like to work and live here only,” translator Monica, said.

Geeta was about 11 when she crossed from India into Pakistan. Exactly how is not clear but Geeta mimes an explosion and shows how she ducked and ran before being caught by armed men.

Geeta returned to India, accompanied by officials of Karachi-based Edhi Foundation where she stayed all these years.

“She used to cry a lot, she used to touch our feet and would fold hands. She wanted (prayer) bell. Then I realised that she is from our neighbouring country and she was not Fatima. Suddenly, Geeta came out of my mouth. I am very happy that she has come back to her country,” an official, Bilquis Edhi said.

At first, Geeta was kept at a children’s home in Lahore, where she was given the Muslim name Fatima.

She would point at maps of India, especially to an area in the south of eastern Jharkhand state until she was able to finally communicate she was from India, not Pakistan.