Deaf-mute Indian woman stranded in Pakistan for over a decade | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Deaf-mute Indian woman stranded in Pakistan for over a decade

chandigarh Updated: Aug 11, 2012 16:11 IST

A deaf and mute Indian woman, who inadvertently strayed into Pakistan about 12 years ago, is desperate to return home to her parents.

She has written in her notes that her mother used to call her "Guddi," a common nickname for Indian girl children.

The leading Pakistani rights activist Bilqees Edhi has christened her Geeta as no one knows her real name. She apparently entered the Lahore city in a train from India and was found by police who sent her to a state-run shelter home.

However, Geeta's inability to communicate caused a lot of frustration and she was moved from one welfare home to another as she often tried to escape and quarreled with staff, said Bilqees, the wife of Abdul Sattar Edhi, founder of Pakistan's largest and best-known charity Edhi Foundation.

"Efforts made by the authorities to trace her family in India produced no results and she was finally sent to Karachi. She must be about 21 or 22 years old but she looks much younger," added Bilqees.

"As she was unable to fit into the various welfare homes, I brought her to the shelter home run by the Edhi Foundation about two or three months ago," said Bilqees.

Geeta, who is short, thin and dark complexioned, has been spending the past few weeks observing 'roza', the fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan, with the other girls and women living in the Edhi Foundation home.

She also prays frequently at a small mandir that Bilqees helped set up in a corner of the home.

"She cries a lot whenever she worships, possibly because she remembers her parents and siblings," Bilqees said.

Geeta has developed her own form of sign language and during recent interactions with reporters in Karachi, she has indicated that she has 12 siblings in India, including seven brothers and five sisters.

Bilqees said, Geeta had told her through sign language that she left home after getting annoyed with her parents.

"She then walked a long distance, passing a river and a temple before she boarded a train and went to sleep," Bilqees said.

Geeta has had some education as she is able to read and write in Hindi.

"She seems to be from a village, possibly in Punjab region of India. But it could be any village and that's why it's so difficult to trace her parents," said Bilqees.

Several media groups and organisations, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, have now taken up Geeta's case and are making a concerted push to track down her relatives in India.