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India, Pak border guards praised for safe return of girl

April 03, 2013 21:48 IST

The family of the seven-year-old girl from Rajasthan, who had strayed into Pakistan and locals in her village have thanked border officials in both India and the neighbouring country for the safe return of the child.

Pooja was handed over to the Border Security Force at Neelkanth outpost on Monday night. She returned home in new clothes, new footwear and with candies which Pakistan Rangers had given her.

"Sukhram (Pooja's father) was apprehensive about the condition of his daughter, who had inadvertently strayed into Pakistan on Friday evening. When he was informed by BSF officials that Pooja has returned safely, he was extremely happy," said Ravindra Kachawa, sarpanch of 34 KYD Panchayat.

"The BSF and Pakistan Rangers played a major role in locating her and ensuring her safe return. Sukhram thanked the BSF and also conveyed the same gesture for Pakistan Rangers," Kachawa added.

Locals and Khajuwala Legislator Vishwanath Meghwal visited the girl's family at their residence to congratulate them on her return.

District Collector Arti Dogra said the girl had crossed the fencing at the border and entered Pakistan.

"BSF informed their counterparts after footmarks suggested that she had entered into Pakistan. The BSF was in regular touch with Pakistan and the result was good for all," she said.

BSF officials said the Pakistan Rangers had fully cooperated with them during flag meetings and that they had taken proper care of the girl.

"Since her footwear and clothes, which she was wearing when she went missing, were in bad condition, the Rangers replaced them with new ones," BSF Deputy Inspector General Karan Singh Rathore said.

"The girl told us that she was offered biscuits and candies across the border," he said.

Another BSF official, who did not wish to be named, said the girl had ventured some four kilometers inside Pakistani territory before finding a hut to take shelter in.

"On Saturday, when she woke up, she found two policemen approaching her, who took her to another place where she was kept with care. A woman official was with her in Pakistan. The girl was normal when she was brought here. She was handed over to her father after a medical examination," the official said.

"He has been advised to be careful with children while moving around the area so that no such incident occurs again," said Station House Officer Khajuwala Ramchandra.

The girl's family lives on a farm in the 43 KYED area of the district, which is close to the India-Pakistan border.

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