Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said he will ensure that Geeta, a 24-year-old Pakistan-returned woman with hearing and speech impairments, is married off into a suitable family.
Geeta was just seven years old when she accidentally crossed into the neighbouring country over 15 years ago. It was through sustained efforts of the ministry of external affairs that she was brought back to Indore in October 2015.
Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj announced the chief minister's intent after meeting him on Saturday. "The boy, of course, will be of Geeta's choice," she said, adding that Chouhan will step in to do the 'kanyadaan' for the purpose.
Kanyadaan, a gesture akin to giving away the bride's hand in marriage, is ritualistically performed by the father figure in a family.
Geeta had gone missing for four hours on Thursday over alleged differences with a family she had been living with in Indore since 2015. She later denied reports that she had left the house in a huff, stating that he had lost her way after a temple visit.
Though Geeta is not averse to marriage, she wants to reunite with her parents first. "I am ready to marry a suitable person but I want to see and live with my family first," she told mediapersons in sign language.
Geeta's caretaker Monica Punjabi Verma said she was happy at home. "We came to Bhopal because Sushmaji wanted to meet her. This visit has nothing to do with her missing complaint," she added.
Yet another priority in Geeta's life is completing her education. "She is learning basic things, and her understanding is increasing by the day. However, it will take time because she is completely unaware of her language," said Verma.
Geeta, who lived at an Edhi Foundation shelter in Pakistan for 14 years, returned to India after Swaraj took up her case in 2015. Though four families - one each from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and two from Madhya Pradesh - laid claim over her, she failed to recognise any of them.

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