Indian woman wants adopted daughter back

Feb. 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

NEW DELHI, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- An Indian woman is fighting for the return of the daughter abducted as she played near her home 15 years ago.

The girl, Zabeen, has spent most of her life in Australia, and the Queensland couple who adopted her believe she should remain there, at least until she turns 18, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Her father said he has offered through a lawyer to submit Zabeen's DNA for testing and to allow contact with her biological family until she becomes a legal adult.

The man who kidnapped the child in 1998 in Chennai, the south Indian city formerly known as Madras, was arrested years ago. The adoption agency that bought her was raided in 2005 and closed down.

But her mother, Fatima, says police told her when she was notified of the criminal case against the kidnapper that she could not get Zabeen back from Australia.

"He told me not to worry, that she is in a good place, Australia is a good place," she told ABC. "But I told them that even if it is good, I want my child back."

Fatima met with the Australian high commissioner this week in New Delhi. She has threatened to bring criminal charges against the Australian government and her daughter's adoptive parents.

Her adoptive parents say returning Zabeen to India would be sending her into a culture that is now strange to her.

"She's a complete Australian and we don't think she should be forced to go back into a situation where she doesn't speak the language, she doesn't understand the culture and she doesn't know any of the people," her father said.

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