UP couple renews claim as Geeta’s parents, says ready for DNA test
A couple from Uttar Pradesh has renewed its claim that Geeta, the speech and hearing impaired woman who returned to India on Monday after being stranded in Pakistan for nearly 15 years, is their daughter.
The Pratapgarh couple is one of the four families from different states who have claimed Geeta as their daughter. On Monday, Geeta did not recognise a family from Bihar that had claimed her. Geeta had earlier identified the family from a photograph provided by the Indian high commission in Islamabad.
Ramraj Gautam and his wife Anara Devi, residents of Pure Rama village of Kunda tehsil, had first made the claim in August this year after television channels broadcast news about Geeta being stuck in Pakistan and had repeatedly approached senior officials in Pratapgarh district.
On Monday, they met divisional commissioner Rajan Shukla in Allahabad and said they were ready for a DNA test to prove their parentage. The divisional commissioner has written a letter to the state’s principal secretary (home) and the Pratapgarh district magistrate asking them to take necessary steps.
Gautam claimed Geeta was actually his daughter Savita who had gone missing from Bihar’s Chhapra district in November 2004 at the age of eight while temporarily staying with a relative.
Gautam said the family had gone to Chhapra where his brother-in-law Narain Das lived in a mutt (hermitage). Das asked him to leave the girl behind with him for treatment. He claimed Savita disappeared after boarding a train from the Bihar.
Anara Devi told HT they had received a copy of the divisional commissioner’s letter.
“We will go and meet our daughter and bring her back. I am sure that Geeta is actually my daughter Savita and our claim will be proved by the DNA test,” she said.
Geeta, believed to be 23 now, was spotted by the Pakistan Rangers in Lahore after she apparently crossed the border in a train almost 15 years ago and sent to a state-run shelter. She was moved from one shelter to another – because she often tried to escape and quarrelled with staff – before she arrived at the Edhi Foundation.
A team from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) collected Geeta’s DNA samples and the results will be known after 15 to 20 days. Samples had also been collected from the family that claimed Geeta.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has said Geeta will live at a home for speech and hearing impaired in Indore till the DNA tests are completed.
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