Geeta, the deaf and mute girl, who was rescued from Pakistan in 2015 by then Extern Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, has finally found her family in Maharashtra. Geeta returned to India on October 26, 2015 after intervention by Swaraj. She was initially lodged at a facility of a hearing and speech impaired institute run by an Indore-based NGO.
The over five-year-long search to find Geeta's family led to Parbhani in Maharashtra, where she is now being trained in sign language by Pahal, an NGO working for the hearing and speech impaired. The search in the last five years involved screening process of at least a dozen families from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana and Rajasthan after claims that they were Geetas blood relations.
According to Anand Selgaokar of Pahal, Geeta was handed over to Anand Services Society, another Indore-based NGO, on July 20, 2020. Gyanendra Purohit of that NGO first came to Parbhani in December last year. He said that the search led the NGO to Meena Waghmare (71) who lived in Jintur in Parbhani district, when her daughter Radha (Geeta) went missing.
"Meena told us that her daughter has a burn mark on her stomach and when we checked, it turned out to be true," Purohit said.
According to a PTI report, Geeta's father and Meena's first husband Sudhakar Waghmare died some years ago and she now lives near Aurangabad with her second husband.
Purohit said that tears rolled down Meena's eyes as she met Geeta for the first time, he said. Geeta did not understand a word of what Meena said as being speech and hearing impaired, she communicates only through sign language.
Anand Selgaokar said that it is likely that Geeta reached Parbhani and boarded the Sachkhand Express to Amritsar and later boarded the Delhi-Lahore Samjhauta Express. Geeta has now spent around a month-and-a-half in Parbhani and often meets with Meena and the latter's married daughter, who also lives in the Marathwada region.
"It is for the government authorities to decide on when to conduct a DNA test. Till then Geeta will continue to receive training at Pahal," Selgaonkar said.