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Deaf and mute woman returns to India after straying into Pakistan as a child

A woman who wandered across the India-Pakistan border more than a decade ago has been returned to her family. Her story became a sensation in India after a hit Bollywood film told a similar story.

The 23-year-old deaf and mute woman, known only as Geeta, arrived in India on Monday, 12 years after straying across a heavily militarized border into Pakistan.

Geeta was greeted with flowers, crowds of well-wishers and representatives from India's Ministry of External Affairs as she arrived in New Delhi from the southern Pakistani city of Karachi. Vikas Swarup, the ministry's spokesman, took to Twitter to celebrate the occasion.

Geeta had been unable to leave Pakistan because she couldn't identify herself or where she came from. For more than 10 years she was cared for by the Edhi Foundation, a Pakistani charity. Representatives from the charity accompanied her on her return home.

A national sensation

Geeta's story became widely known after the release of a Bollywood film called "Bajrangi Bahijan," which told a similar story about a man attempting to return a Pakistani girl who had crossed the border into India.

Following the film's success, Geeta was able to verify photos of her parents that she received in the mail. She will undergo a DNA test following a meeting with the people claiming to be her family members in Dehli.

Relations between India and Pakistan are extremely fraught. The countries have fought three wars since Pakistan's independence in 1947.

blc/kms (AP, dpa, AFP)

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