New Delhi, Oct 26 (PTI) Nearly 15 years after she accidentally crossed over to Pakistan, Geeta, a deaf-mute girl whose story has touched people on both sides of the border, returned here today.
Pakistan International Airlines flight PK 272 carrying 23-year-old Geeta from Karachi landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at around 1030 hours where she was given a warm welcome.
Dressed in a white-red salwar suit and her head covered with dupatta, she waved to the waiting people.
She 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 Bilquees Edhi and lived with her in Karachi. Bilquis and her grandchildren, Saba and Saad Edhi, are accompanying Geeta.
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.
Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, T C A Raghavan, and his wife had visited Geeta in August after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj directed him to meet her and try to locate her family.
Before boarding the PIA flight from Karachi, a beaming Geeta thanked the Pakistani people for taking care of her.
Faisal Edhi of the Edhi foundation told reporters in Karachi that they would continue to stay in touch with Geeta through social media and even visit her.
"She is not really separating from us," he said.
Sources had earlier said that Geeta has identified her father, step-mother and siblings from a photograph sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The family reportedly lives in Bihar.
Swaraj had said that Geeta would be handed over to the family after DNA test.
The Ministry had said Geeta would return to the country as she is "India's daughter", irrespective of whether her family is traced or not.
Geeta refuses to recognise family, will conduct DNA test: Minister
"Geeta has refused to recognise her family after meeting them. The Indian government will still conduct a DNA test," Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told a press conference on Monday.
"Since four families from as many states have claimed Geeta to be their daughter, I have written to the chief ministers of these states to probe the claim. For the time being, we are sending Geeta to an institution in Indore (Madhya Pradesh)," Sushma Swaraj said.