A deaf and mute couple from Amritsar on Wednesday claimed that Geeta, the girl being looked after by a social welfare group in Pakistan for the past 13 years, is their daughter Pooja.
The couple, Rajesh Kumar and Ram Dulari, conveyed to Hindustan Times through their son, Raju, 14, that the girl being raised by Edhi Foundation in Karachi is their daughter Pooja, who they fondly used to call Guddi.
GEETA SAYS NOT HER PARENTS
But when a private TV channel went live with the couple's claims and contacted Edhi Foundation, hoping to reunite Geeta with her parents, it was disappointed. Geeta, who was barely four years old when she lost contact with her family, studied the images of the couple and their son before conveying to the interpreter in Karachi that she did not recognise them as her family. She told the interpreter that her mother and women in her family wore sarees not Punjabi salwar- kameez as Ram Dulari was attired in.
Interestingly, Geeta bears an uncanny resemblance to Ram Dulari.
WILL MEET FAMILY, CAN GO FOR DNA TEST: BURNEY
Pakistan human rights activist Ansar Burney, who was in London and learnt about the Amritsar couple's claim through Hindustan Times, said that he would be meeting the family when he visits India on September 2. "This is a major development. I will meet the family. We could go for a DNA test to verify their claim," he said. "My suggestion is that the girl should be taken to India. I appeal to the Indian government to take up this case proactively."
WENT MISSING FROM AMRITSAR STATION
Raju said the family had migrated from Bihar to Amritsar several years ago and had been earning its livelihood by begging and ragpicking at the Amritsar station and its adjoining areas.
"Pooja, my sister, went missing from the Amritsar station over a decade ago," he said.
Kuldeep Singh, a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) employee who has been assisting pilgrims headed for Golden Temple at the railway station since 1998, said: "Pooja may have boarded a train carrying a Sikh jatha (group of pilgrims) headed for Pakistan. She went missing suddenly. I used to see her begging at the station and on board trains."