After a young girl was found in an Indian forest living among a group of monkeys, a family is now claiming she’s their daughter who has been missing for over a year. Ramzan Ali Shah, 45, and his wife, Nazma, 35, say “Mowgli girl” went missing on a shopping trip in March 2016, but Indian authorities were under the impression that she had been abandoned by her family because of her mental and physical disabilities.
“She’s my daughter,” Ramzan said, adding that the girl is 10 years old and correcting previous reports that said she was 8 years old. “She went missing last year, and we did everything to find her. We reported it to the police, and we distributed posters, but no one helped us. We thought she was dead.”
The couple visited the girl, who is reportedly named Aliza, in a children’s facility on Monday. They had seen articles detailing her recovery, along with photos of her, and they insist that she’s their lost daughter.
“We got busy buying some medicines for a few seconds, and she suddenly vanished,” Ramzan said. “We looked for her everywhere but couldn’t find her. No police official helped us and even demanded money in exchange for help every time we visited. We pasted posters in different areas, but nothing found her. We abandoned all hope. We eventually believed she was dead or picked up by someone, or traffickers. We were devastated. My wife did not eat or sleep for several weeks, but eventually we had to carry on with our lives.”
The father of seven was amazed when he saw her pictures in the news and couldn’t believe she had been able to survive in a forest alongside monkeys for as long as she did.
“When I saw her, I had tears in my eyes. She kept staring at me. She stared for two hours,” he said. “But this is how she was. It was a normal reaction for her.”
The girl is being treated at a charity hospital and school for mentally disabled children. While she initially couldn’t talk and would only eat food off of the floor, doctors say she’s showing signs of improvement. She is now eating normally, and although she still isn’t speaking, she appears to react to other humans by smiling and even held hands with her doctors.
Ramzan and his wife will now need a DNA test to prove they’re her parents, and the family is saving up for one.
“It would be the most amazing day to get her back. I have no idea how she made it to the jungle. I wonder what she’s been through,” Ramzan said. “She used to always climb trees and buildings and jump off, but how did she cope in the forest for so long?”