Geeta, the speech and hearing impaired Indian girl who strayed into Pakistan accidentally nearly 12 years ago and has been living there since, will return to India on October 26, the government said on Friday.
Five officials of the Edhi Foundation in Karachi, which has been looking after Geeta, will accompany her to India.
"Geeta will come back to India on October 26. Five members of Edhi Foundation will come with her, who will be treated as State guests," The Indian Express quoted MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup as saying.
Just last week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted saying the government had identified her family in India and she will only be handed over to them after a DNA test.
Geeta will be back in India soon. We have located her family. She will be handed over to them only after the DNA test.#Geetaâ€” Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) October 15, 2015
Geeta was reportedly around 8 years old when she strayed into Pakistan on the Samjhauta Express and police at the Lahore railway station had then handed her over to the Edhi Foundation. The Foundation has been since been looking after Geeta and working to reunite her with her family in India.
However, they are skeptical about Geeta's return now as they fear "Geeta will be a victim of a public relations exercise of India-Pakistan diplomacy," reported The Hindu.
The NGO doubts the authenticity of the family in Bihar which has claimed that Geeta is their daughter. "It is the initiative and drive of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that are forcing us to send Geeta to Delhi. The Indian authorities should first ascertain the parental home of Geeta before taking her away," Faisal Edhi, managing trustee of the Edhi Foundation told The Hindu.
Though the Indian government has said that Geeta will return to her family in India only after a DNA test is conducted, Edhi Foundation has said that the test can be conducted without having to bring Geeta to India.
Also read: Geeta will soon return to India, but 45 percent of missing children in India remain untraced