Asia-Pacific News

Deaf-mute Indian girl returns to India after 13 years in Pakistan

Neelabh Chaturvedi
Deaf-mute Indian woman Geeta salutes the media before leaving for the airport from the EDHI Foundation in Karachi on October 26, 2015. Geeta, the Indian woman living in Pakistan after accidentally crossing the border over a decade ago, will return home with both governments completing all formalities.
Asif Hassan | AFP | Getty Images

A deaf-mute Indian girl stuck in Pakistan whose plight bears an uncanny resemblance to the plot of a Bollywood blockbuster has returned to India after 13 years across the border, a rare moment of co-operation between the two uneasy neighbors.

Geeta, who is in her 20s, wandered across the border after being separated from her family and had been living in the Pakistani city of Lahore. How exactly that transpired is a bit hazy.

Attention to her condition was drawn by the release this summer of the Hindi film 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' in which Bollywood star Salman Khan played a devout Hindu who helps a mute Pakistani girl return to her family.

Geeta's arrival in Delhi was met with heavy fanfare, with news channels focusing bulletins on her unusual story. India's external affairs minister also tweeted on the return:

Geeta - Welcome home our daughter.

According to Reuters, Geeta would point at maps of India, especially to an area in the south of Jharkhand State until she was able to finally communicate she was from India, not Pakistan.

"Geeta stayed with us for 13 years. Now it's time for her to go home," said Faisal Edhi, son of the founder of the Edhi Foundation that looked after the girl, according to Reuters.

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She was headed to meet a family from India's Bihar state whom she says she recognized from photos sent by the Indian High Commission in Pakistan.

Edhi said investigations will be done to make sure the family is actually hers.

Relations between India and Pakistan have chilled over allegations of ceasefire violations at the border by both countries.

Cricket-mad India and Pakistan haven't played a test series since Pakistani terrorists attacked India's financial capital Mumbai in 2008 while a concert earlier this year by a popular Pakistani singer in India had to be cancelled after protests.

— Reuters contributed to this article