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Business News/ News / India/  What is the baby Ariha case? All you need to know as MEA takes matter up with German authorities
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What is the baby Ariha case? All you need to know as MEA takes matter up with German authorities

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Saturday the Indian embassy remained in touch with the family and German authorities to find a way forward. Earlier in December, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had conveyed concerns over the baby to his German counterpart.

Jaishankar was speaking on Thursday at Asia Economic Dialogue (AED), MEA’s annual flagship event on Geo-economics, co-hosted in collaboration with city-based think-tank Pune International Centre. (HT FILE PHOTO) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Jaishankar was speaking on Thursday at Asia Economic Dialogue (AED), MEA’s annual flagship event on Geo-economics, co-hosted in collaboration with city-based think-tank Pune International Centre. (HT FILE PHOTO) (HT_PRINT)

More than a year after German authorities separated an Indian toddler from her parents, India continues to make efforts to reunite the family. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Saturday the Indian embassy remained in touch with the family and German authorities to find a way forward. Earlier in December, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had conveyed concerns over the baby to his German counterpart.

Who is baby Ariha and why is she being fostered in Germany?

German authorities had taken custody of Ariha Shah more than a year ago, alleging that she was being harassed by her parents. Since then, the toddler has been living in foster care in Berlin. The family members of the child - reportedly over one-and-half-years old - have been seeking her repatriation to India.

With the case nearing the two year mark, family members and volunteers have also started several petitions to ‘save Ariha’. Family members have also led protests in front of the German Embassy building in New Delhi.

“The paternal grandmother injured the baby by accident in September 2021. When the parents took her to hospital, they were accused of sexual assault and the baby was removed," contends one Change.org petition.

Earlier reports quoting the parents indicate that the case was eventually closed without charges. However, their daughter was not returned. The Berlin Child Services have also filed a civil custody case for the termination of parental rights. A trial date is yet to be set.

What has the MEA said?

"This is something of great sensitivity, something which we deeply care about, and our embassy has been in very close touch with the parents and German authorities in trying to find a way forward," Kwatra said today.

In December last year External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had raised the issue during wide-ranging discussions with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock. Dubbing it a ‘very delicate matter’ that involved privacy issues he had said at the time that both governments were handling the situation according to the circumstances. 

"We have concerns that the child should be in her linguistic, religious, cultural and social environment. This is her right. And our embassy is pursuing the matter with German authorities, but it was also a subject which I had brought up with the minister," he had said at a joint media briefing.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 25 Feb 2023, 10:32 PM IST
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