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Eknath Shinde writes to EAM Jaishankar drawing his attention to baby Ariha Shah separated from her Indian parents by German Govt for last 20 months

The girl was taken into custody by the German authorities because of suspected sexual abuse.

On Thursday, June 1st, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Eknath Shinde wrote a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar drawing his to the case of Baby Ariha Shah who is stranded in a foster home in Germany for the last twenty months. 

Ariha Shah, the daughter of a Jain couple Bhavesh and Dhara Shah was 7 months old when she was separated from her parents by the authorities of the Germany Child Care Institute in 2020 after the baby was accidentally hurt by her grandmother. 20 months have passed since then but she has not been returned to her parents.

In his letter, CM Shinde first, congratulated the external affairs ministry for its successful operation in conflict-hit Sudan to bring back Indian citizens stranded there. 

CM further stated that the parents of baby Ariha Shah who belongs to Mumbai are fighting relentlessly to bring their daughter back to India. 

Letter written by Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde to EAM (Source: ANI)

“I would like to bring your kind attention to the case of Baby Ariha Shaha, stranded in foster home in Germany since the last twenty months. Her parents Dhara and Bhavesh Shah belong to Mumbai, Maharashtra and fighting relentlessly to bring back her baby back to India,” the letter reads.

The Maharashtra CM also informed EAM Jaishankar that the parents of Ariha Shah met him last week requesting him to pursue their case with the external affairs minister. CM Shinde urged Minister Jaishankar to take up the matter again with the German government. He also added that Ariha’s parents have informed him that there many such similar cases wherein Indian babies are forced to go through such a situation.

“Last week the depressed and anxious parents met me to pursue with External Affairs Ministry their case which I think is a genuine case. You have already intervened in this matter, but I will urge you to take up this matter again with the German Government. The parents have also informed us about many such similar cases of Indian babies undergoing this type of tragic situation,” the Maharashtra CM’s letter stated. 

He requested the external affairs minister to give an appointment to Dhara and Bhavesh Shah to understand their concerns.

“I would even like to request you to give an in-person appointment to the parents to understand their concerns and the details of the case. The parents can be contacted at the following contact details: Dhara Shah (Mother) and Bhavesh Shah (Father).

Hope your intervention in this matter will give justice to the parents of the baby,” the letter stated.

Ariha Shah separated from her Indian parents by German authorities

Ariha Shah, a three-year-old girl, has been in German child rights custody for over the past year and a half. The parents of a three-year-old Jain girl are battling the German government for custody of their daughter. The girl was taken into custody by the German authorities because of suspected sexual abuse.

The Shah family members have also started an online petition to gather public support to get their daughter back into custody. In this petition, the details of the ordeal are also described. According to this petition, Ariha Shah’s father was posted in Germany on a work visa as a software engineer. In September 2021, the infant Ariha Shah was accidentally hurt by his paternal grandmother. When her parents brought her to the hospital, they were charged with sexual assault and the baby was taken away.

It is said in the petition that the criminal inquiry was concluded without charges in February 2022, but Ariha Shah is still in the custody of German authorities. Berlin Child Services has filed a civil custody case to terminate the parental rights of the Shah couple. This lawsuit will take 2-3 years to complete, the petition says.

In December 2022, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar raised this issue during a discussion with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock.

In a press conference back then, EAM Jaishankar informed,  “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.”

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