New Delhi, Aug 8:
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Saturday that India is completing the necessary formalities to bring back Gita, a hearing and speech-impaired Indian woman stranded in Karachi, to India.
“We are completing the necessary formalities to bring Gita back to India,” she tweeted.
Sushma also tweeted that during the past few days “four families from Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand and UP have claimed Gita as their daughter” and that she has requested the chief ministers of the respective states to “verify and report”.
“Gita conveyed to Indian High Commissioner by gestures that they are seven brothers and sisters. She also conveyed that she had visited a temple with her father. Then she wrote down ‘Vaishno Devi’. With these details, please help locate Gita’s family,” the minister tweeted.
On Tuesday, Sushma had announced that the government will bring Gita back to India after Indian High Commissioner T.C.A. Raghavan met Gita at the Edhi Foundation in Karachi where the young woman has been staying for the past 15 years after she accidentally strayed into Pakistani territory.
Sushma had requested the envoy to go to Karachi to meet Gita.
Leading Pakistani human rights activist Ansar Burney, who has been closely pursuing Gita’s case, had travelled to India in October 2012 with photographs of the woman but was unable to make progress.
In 2003, Gita — then 11-years old — was spotted by the Pakistan Rangers in Lahore, after she strayed across the border.
The girl was handed over to the Edhi Foundation, a social welfare organisation in Pakistan.
Bilquis Edhi, who runs the Edhi Foundation, has named her Gita.
According to reports, Geeta is a vegetarian and has set up a small “mandir” in her room at the Edhi Foundation where she prays to Indian gods and goddesses. She also observes the Ramadan fast.