Deaf woman reunited with family after 12 years

A deaf and mute woman who crossed the Indian border into Pakistan 12 years ago as an 11-year-old girl has finally flown home to a warm and emotional welcome.

Wearing a red tunic, her head loosely covered with a matching scarf, the woman, who had been given the name Geeta, waved to scores of people who had gathered at the New Delhi airport to greet her.

More than a decade ago, Geeta was found by Pakistan border troops, alone and weeping, near the border.

Accounts of how she arrived differ, with some saying she had accidentally crossed an unmarked section of the border and others saying she had been a passenger on a cross-border train.

Since she could not explain where she had come from, she was presumed to be Pakistani. The army handed the girl to a well-known Pakistani charity that ran a number of homes for orphans.

The Edhi Foundation named her Geeta.

Earlier in 2015, Indian and Pakistani officials realised that Geeta was Indian, though details about how they made that discovery have not been announced.

Her plight was highlighted by the media in India and Pakistan after the July release of a Bollywood film, Bajrangi Bhaijan.

In the film, the hero overcomes all odds to reunite a mute girl with her family in Pakistan.

The similarities between the film and Geeta’s story helped accelerate action..

Vikas Swarup, spokesman of the ministry of external affairs, said Indian officials narrowed the search to three families.

About two weeks ago, Geeta identified her family.


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