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A Bihar man goes to meet daughter who strayed into Pakistan

By Ians English

Patna, Oct 20: Janardan Mahto, a labourer from a Bihar village, on Tuesday left for Delhi where he hopes to meet his daughter Geeta, the deaf-mute Indian woman living in Pakistan after accidentally crossing the border over a decade ago.

Mahto took a flight for the first time in his life on an invitation from External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Mahto, in his late 50s, had seen Geeta on television and claimed two months ago that she was his daughter Hira. He said he was overjoyed.

"It is a miracle for me to meet my daughter, who could not be traced after she went missing years ago," he said.

Mahto said he is ready for any test including DNA for identifying his daughter. "I will go for a DNA test before the government will hand her over to me."

He said Geeta went missing from Kartarpur near Jalandhar, where she had gone to a 'Baisakhi mela' in 2004 when he was working as a labourer in Punjab.

"Not just my family, but "people in nearly one dozen neighbouring villages are happy that I am going to bring her back", said Mahto who has five sons and two daughters.

Manoj Kumar, a Bihar government official who is accompanying Mahto to Delhi, said: "My job is to go along with Mahto to Delhi; after reaching there, government agencies concerned will help him."

Mahto said that there will be a big celebration in his village Kabira Dhap in Saharsa district.


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