BHOPAL: Over 600 hearing and speech impaired children and youngsters offered special prayers in the memory of former Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in Madhya Pradesh’s economic capital Indore on Wednesday. And leading them was around 27-year-old Geeta, who returned to India following Swaraj’s extensive effort in October 2015 — years after she was found alone on board the Samjhauta Express in Lahore at the age of around eight.
Bearing the picture of Swaraj in her hands, Geeta was unable to control her tears as the special-abled children and youngsters paid silent tributes to the departed stalwart of Indian politics.
“Right since I arrived from Pakistan and met her, she (Sushma Swaraj) has been a mother to me in the truest sense of the word. I met her many times in Delhi, besides Bhopal and Indore. Whenever we met, she gave me presents. She was always concerned about my well-being and future,” said a tearful Geeta, who is yet to find her biological parents, despite over two dozen couples from across the country coming forward, claiming to be her real parents.
Recalling the last time she met Swaraj, with the help of a sign language expert, Geeta said it was when the then external affairs minister was in Indore to attend a marriage function. “It’s terribly sad that she’s no longer with us. I will pray for peace to the departed soul and live with the fond memories that I have of her,” Geeta said.
In November last year, the then external affairs minister had described Geeta as Hindustan ki Beti (India’s daughter), saying, “Even if she does not meet her family, she will never be sent back to Pakistan. The Indian government will take care of her.”
Following her return to India in October 2015, Geeta has been staying and studying at an institution for speech and hearing-impaired. It is run by an NGO at Indore’s Gumashta Nagar locality. The institution’s director Monica Punjabi said Geeta was in tears since learning of Swaraj’s demise on Wednesday morning.