To accelerate the process of reuniting with their child, the parents of the Indian toddler who has been separated by the German authorities for more than a year, reached Mumbai on Thursday, requesting the government authorities to intervene and help them in getting their child back.
Who is Ariha Shah?
The German authorities had taken custody of Ariha Shah more than a year ago, alleging that she was being harassed by her parents. Her father, Bhavesh Shah, a software engineer originally from Mumbai but working in Germany, said that the German government alleged a case of molestation on the parents as the child had suffered genital injuries and was taken to the hospital for treatment in 2021.
"The criminal case has been closed and we were not found guilty after the medical reports proved it, however, a civil case is still ongoing which is not allowing us to reunite with our child," said the father.
Ariha in foster case in Berlin
The child is currently under foster care in Berlin, Germany, where the parents are allowed to meet the child only for one hour twice a month. The child - who is over one-and-half-years old - knows only the German language and is not even able to communicate with her parents. According to the mother, Dhara Shah, the German child rights departments are dragging the case and giving court dates which are months apart. "The last hearing was two days ago and the next was going to be in the month of May, we requested the court and made them shift the date to March 31, our child is growing up without us and my heart burns to see that," said the sobbing mother.
Indian govt trying to reunite family with Ariha
India has been making efforts to reunite the family, the foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on February 24, last month, said that the Indian embassy has remained in touch with the family and the German authorities to find a way forward. Earlier in December, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had conveyed concerns over the baby to his German counterpart.
On Thursday, the parents who belong to the Jain community, gathered the community members and requested the government authorities to help them accelerate the process of getting the child back. "We have been informed that the German consulate will be briefed and the child will be brought back to the parents, we hope for a positive result soon," said Nitin Vora, head of Rashtriya Jain Sangathan.
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