The mystery over the parentage of a hearing-and-speech impaired Indian woman stranded in Pakistan grew more intriguing on Saturday after foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that a Bihar family said Geeta was their daughter, bringing the number of such claims up to four.
A family each from Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Punjab have said this week the woman who spent 15 years in Pakistan was their long-lost family member, following instructions from Swaraj to the Indian envoy in the neighbouring country to unite Geeta with her family.
Swaraj has asked the chief ministers of the respective states to verify the families' claims and tweeted a bunch of particular information that Geeta herself reportedly provided the authorities with her pictures and drawings.
“We are completing the necessary formalities to bring Gita back to India. With these details, please help locate Gita's family,” she wrote on the microblogging site but didn’t give out any details of the Bihar family.
I am requesting the Chief Ministers of these states to verify and report.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 8, 2015
This should further help in locating Gita's family. https://t.co/PC5gsKgRh2— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 8, 2015
As first reported by HT, the renewed push to unite the woman -- whom Karachi-based rights activist Bilqees Edhi christened Geeta because no one knew her real name – with her parents was triggered by the success of Bollywood film Bajrangi Bhaijaan, featuring Salman Khan taking a deaf and mute girl back to her relatives in Pakistan.
Ramraj and Anara Devi, a couple from Dhamohan village in UP's Pratapgarh district, said on Friday Geeta was their daughter Savita who went missing from an ashram in Bihar 11 years ago.
"We have contacted police officials at the local Maheshganj station seeking help,” said Ramraj, a farmer.
On the same day, another family from Bokaro in Jharkhand said Geeta was their fourth child Kokia Kumari who went missing more than a decade ago after she went out to graze cattle.
“The day I saw her photo, I knew she is my Kokia. If she is my daughter, the government should bring her back as soon as possible," said Bachni Devi, who said she was the mother.
The first couple to make a claim was Rajesh Kumar and Ram Dulari from Amritsar who said Geeta was their daughter Pooja, whom they used to call Guddi.
The family which migrated from Bihar to Punjab, said the girl went missing more than a decade ago while they were out begging at Amritsar railway station.
Though Geeta bore a resemblance to Ram Dulari, she did not recognise them and told interpreters in Karachi that women in her family used to wear saris and not Punjabi salwar-kameez.
Geeta, aged 22-24, has been living with the Edhi Foundation -- Pakistan’s largest and best-known charity -- since 2012. She apparently entered the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on a train from India almost 15 years ago and was sent to a state-run care centre by the police.
Bajrangi Bhaijaans from Pak want to reunite Indian woman with family