Looks like the latest Salman Khan-starrer blockbuster, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, has brought to limelight the plight of two Indian kids who are in actual need of a real life Bhaijaan to take them back to their homes in India.
The movie’s storyline describes the journey of an Indian man who takes it upon himself the task of taking back a 6-year-old speech-impaired Pakistani girl to her country, who gets stranded in India by mistake. In an incident of real life imitating art, the story of two children- Salman and Geeta- has been doing the rounds of the social media. These two kids are stuck in Pakistan and cannot return to their home in India. Here is their complete story.
#1. Hearing-and speech-impaired Geeta in Pakistan, since 2000
“The girl keeps telling through gestures that she wants to fly back home in an aeroplane.”
A recent campaign on Facebook has caught the eye of the media as well as the users, featuring a hearing- and speech-impaired girl whom everyone calls Geeta. The campaign is aptly titled, ‘Please Help Find Geeta’s Home. An Indian girl Stranded In Pakistan.’
This 24-year-old girl accidentally crossed borders 15 years back in 2000, and she landed in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, by train. The girl was found by the Punjab Rangers who took her to the social welfare organisation, The Edhi Foundation, one of the most renowned charitable organisations of Pakistan. Currently, the girl is living with Bilqees Edhi, the wife of Abdul Satta Edhi, who is the founder of this organisation.
All the efforts made by the Pakistan authorities to trace back her family in India have so far been in vain, and she was sent back to Karachi.
So far, the girl has managed to communicate that she has 11 siblings, including 4 sisters, her father is from the state of Jharkhand and her mother is from Telangana. She also keeps on writing number 193 repeatedly.
The case gained momentum when former Pakistani Minister and human and civil rights activist, Ansar Burney, sent a tweet to India’s External Minister of Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, on August 2, 2015. Swaraj promptly replied to the tweet next day promising swift action and dispatching people to meet the girl in Karachi.
Earlier too, Burney had brought this case to India, when he visited the country on an official trip 3 years back.
Recently, the Bajrangi Bhaijaan aka Salman Khan himself came out in support of the Indian government’s efforts to bring back Geeta, and expressed his desire to meet the girl once she comes back safely to India. Here is what he told at a press conference.
“…Government is looking into it. And they are competent and should take this forward. If she agrees and they find her rightful parents, this should definitely be done.”
In fact, the director of the movie Kabir Khan has also been approached by Ansar Burney to lend support to reunite Geeta with her family in India.
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Image Courtesy: NDTV
Looks like Geeta has got her wish to fly back to home in an aeroplane!
Amidst reports of Geeta finally recognising her parents from a string of photos being sent her way by Indian High Commission in Islamabad, this news just came in of her flying back to home! Yes, the hearing-and-speech-impaired girl stranded in Pakistan since 11 years is finally heading back to India, and has just boarded a Pakistani International Airlines flight and will be reunited with her family in a few hours.
Image Courtesy: NDTV
Fahad Eidhi, grandson of Bilqees Edhi also confirmed the same to PTI:
“She will be accompanied by me, my father Faisal Edhi, my mother and my grandmother Bilqees Edhi…We are going with her because she recognised the family in the photograph sent to us by the Indian High Commission as her family. But DNA tests will confirm this.”
Image Courtesy: @MEAIndia (Twitter)
Janardhan Mahto, who hails from Bihar is the man who has claimed that Geeta is her estranged daughter. The man who has five sons and 2 daughters informed that he lost Geeta [born as Heera] in a fair in 2004. If the DNA tests also confirms the same, then Geeta will finally find her long-lost family, much thanks to Salman starrer, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which brought the case into limelight.
Image Courtesy: @MEAIndia (Twitter)
Maybe Geeta would like to see these 7 Lesser-Known But Extremely Beautiful Destinations You Must Visit In India
#2. Young Salman in Pakistan, since 1994
“He has no documents to show he is either a citizen of Pakistan or of India.”
When Salma Viqar Ahmad boarded the train from Pakistan to India in 1994, leaving her 2-year-old son, Salman, little did she know that she won’t be able to get him back, ever! This is the story of a troubled mother, who is a native of Pakistan, but married to an Indian national, Hafiz Viqar Ahmad of Jaiganj in Aligarh. Salma, who is the mother of 10, visited her home in Pakistan on a Noori visa, which allows Pakistani women married to Indian men, a 90-day stay in their birthplace. She took along her two kids, but had to leave one of them behind as he was severely ill. Her visa was about to get expired and in order to avoid trouble with the authorities, she decided to leave her son with her parents.
Later on, due to her in-laws’ death, her husband’s health issues and tending to her other children, Salma just could not go back to Pakistan to bring her son home. But, he was in good hands with her parents and her sister had also informally adopted Salman.
The twist in the tale came when Salma’s father died and her mother’s failing health did not allow her to take care of Salman that well. In fact, even her sister is not that keen on taking Salman’s responsibility.
The husband and wife have been contacting the Indian as well as Pakistani authorities since 2013 till now to bring back their son. Also, Salman has been sending messages to his parents to bring him back as he cannot work lest his illegal status gets revealed.
The family did send some cash for their son with his two sisters some time back. But, they cannot do this on a regular basis and so have written to Indian High Commission in Islamabad, and Indian political party, Samajwadi Party’s Chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav. They have also tried contacting External Affairs Ministry with the help of their Aligarh MP, Satish Gautam.
The Indian High Commision in Islamabad have a different story to tell and they denied ever receiving any such requests from Salman’s parents in India.
Well, Munni in the movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan did manage to reach her family with the help of Bajrangi. However, Geeta and Salman are still waiting for their real life Bajrangi Bhaijaan to take them back to their parents. Can we all make a plea on behalf of their case, so that these two children are reunited with their loved ones once again?
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