Geeta made international headlines when she returned to India from Pakistan 13 years after she had unintentionally crossed the border.
But six months after returning ‘home’, Geeta’s misfortune continues. She still lives in a shelter home, away from her family. Her nationality is yet to be verified. The hashtag #GeetaComesHome doesn’t have any more updates.
Former federal minister for human rights in Pakistan, Ansar Burney, called the whole process a political drama, and said both India and Pakistan should have verified Geeta’s nationality.
“The return of Geeta was used as a political drama. She is still living in a shelter home. Her nationality and identity is still unknown,” Ansar told Khaleej Times.
Burney has been actively involved in tracing Geeta’s family since 2012. He is involved in several social works and runs a trust, Ansar Burney Trust International, in Pakistan.
Ansar said Geeta was made to meet all major political leaders of the country only for political benefits.
“She is not allowed to meet any NGO or media. It is something like a detention,” Ansar added.
Ansar had tried to ask Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj about Geeta on Twitter, “but instead of responding to me, she blocked me.”
He alleged that many of his Indian friends who tried to get information about Geeta were also blocked by Sushma Swaraj.
“Geeta is our daughter. We are concerned about her. This issue has to be separated from politics,” Ansar added.
“The day Geeta unites with her family, I shall personally go to congratulate Sushma Swaraj.”
Jabir Maliyakkal, Community Welfare Secretary of the Indian Social Club (Oman) wondered why Indian government was not doing anything in Geeta’s case.
“They should have traced her parents even before bringing her back. I wouldn’t blame anyone if he/she accuses Indian government of political drama in the entire ‘Geeta Vapasi’ episode,” Jabir said.
A senior official from Edhi Foundation, which has been Geeta’s caretaker for over a decade, expects Geeta to meet her family soon.
“All through these years, we have been trying to send Geeta to India so that she can meet her family and we were successful in that,” Anwer Kazmi from Edhi Foundation told Khaleej Times.
Whatever hint they had received from Geeta about her family was communicated to the Indian government, he said.
“We want her to unite with her family. It is the responsibility of the Indian government,” Anwer said.
Swaraj could not be reached for comments. Messages and phone calls to Vikas Swarup, the official spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, did not elicit any response.
Speech and hearing impaired Geeta had accidentally crossed over to Pakistan when she was 11. She was found by the police at the Wagah Border Railway Station. Unable to trace her family, she was admitted to an Edhi shelter home in Karachi, where she lived till her return to India. Her case came to light after Salman Khan’s Bollywood blockbuster Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which portrayed a similar story.