NEW DELHI: Braving heavy rain, the Indian community in Frankfurt held a peaceful protest urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save a two-year-old Indian child who has been living in foster care in Berlin for over 20 months.
The community called for repatriation of Ariha Shah who has been living in foster care since September 23, 2021 after the German authorities accused parents, Dhara and Bhavesh Shah, of abusing the child.
Holding banners and placards that read, 'Ariha is Indian', the crowd was seen chanting, "Modiji Save Ariha!" in a video tweeted on Saturday by Save Ariha, a campaign run by volunteers across the globe for the child's repatriation to India.
"Today, Indian community in Frankfurt, Germany held protest against the injustice happening with Indian baby Ariha in Germany," the tweet, which was shared along with the video, read.
"Despite heavy rain, they stood strong, demanding repatriation of Ariha Shah and asking @PMOIndia... Modiji Save Ariha! Ariha is Indian," the tweet said.
Last month, Berlin's Pankow local court granted Ariha's custody to the German state while dismissing the parents' contention that the injury sustained by their child was "accidental".
Reacting to the verdict, Ariha's parents said they have full faith that Prime Minister Modi and Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar will bring their child back to India.
"From today, we hand over Ariha to 140 crore Bhartiyas," the parents said in a statement.
Calling it a "very delicate matter", Jaishankar had raised the issue during wide-ranging discussions with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock in December 2022.
"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," Jaishankar had said at a joint media briefing.
More than 50 MPs from 19 political parties, including Shashi Tharoor, Maneka Gandhi, Mahua Moitra, K. Kanimozhi and others, sent a joint letter to German Ambassador in New Delhi, Philipp Ackerman, urging him take all necessary efforts to facilitate the repatriation of Ariha to India as soon as possible.
According to estimates, Indians make up around 0.2 per cent of the German population and as of 2023, two lakh Indians live in the country.