The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been actively pursuing the return of an Indian child, Ariha Shah, who was separated from her parents by German authorities over two years ago. The MEA has reiterated its request to the German authorities to repatriate the child to India. Ariha Shah is an Indian national and was placed in the custody of Germany’s youth welfare in 2021 when she was just 7 months old. Since then, she has been living in a foster care home for the past 20 months.
Efforts to Reunite the Family
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has confirmed that India has been constantly urging Germany to return Ariha Shah to her home country. The ministry has been in contact with German authorities and the Indian embassy has been actively involved in seeking a resolution. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra stated in January that discussions were ongoing between the Indian embassy, the family, and German authorities to find a solution to the case. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has also expressed concerns about the situation to his German counterpart.
Background of the Case
Ariha Shah was taken into custody by German authorities over a year ago, alleging harassment by her parents. Since then, she has been under foster care in Berlin. However, the child’s family members have been persistently advocating for her repatriation to India for more than a year and a half. Dhara Shah, Ariha Shah’s mother, who is currently in a foster care facility in Berlin, expressed her trust in the Indian government and hopes for the Prime Minister’s intervention to facilitate her daughter’s return.
Public Support and Protests
As the case nears the two-year mark, the family and volunteers have launched petitions and campaigns to bring attention to Ariha’s situation, with the aim of securing her return to India. Protests have also been held in front of the German Embassy in New Delhi by family members demanding action.
Legal Proceedings and Civil Custody Case
Earlier reports suggested that the case against the parents was eventually closed without charges, yet Ariha was not returned to her family. Meanwhile, Berlin Child Services has filed a civil custody case seeking to terminate the parental rights. However, a trial date for the case has yet to be determined.
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