Ariha Shah (Baby Ariha) Wiki, Age, Family, Biography & More

Ariha Shah is the daughter of an Indian couple who was separated from her parents on September 23, 2021 by the German authorities when she was just seven months old. She was sent to a foster home in Germany by Jugendamt, German Child Services after a doctor reported a suspicion of sexual assault against her.

Wiki/Biography

Ariha Shah was born in February 2021 (2 years old; as of 2023) in Berlin, Germany. Her parents moved from Gujarat to Berlin, Germany, in 2018.

Physical appearance

Eye Color: Black

Hair Color: Black

Family

Ariha Shah belongs to a Gujarati Jain family.

Fathers and brothers

Ariha Shah’s father, Bhavesh Shah, is a software engineer. Her mother’s name is Dhara Shah.

Ariha Shah with her parents

Ariha Shah with her parents

What happened to baby Ariha?

In September 2021, when Ariha was just seven months old, her grandparents visited her to see their beloved granddaughter at their home. Unfortunately, while Ariha was in the care of her grandmother, an accidental injury occurred to her external genital area. Alarmed by the presence of blood on Ariha’s diaper, her parents immediately sought medical attention. The doctor provided treatment and assured Ariha’s parents that she was fine. However, when Ariha was taken to the hospital for follow-up, the doctor alerted the authorities to a suspicion of ‘sexual assault’ against Ariha by her parents. Shortly after the arrival of the Jugendamt, German children’s services, at the hospital, Ariha was entrusted to her care, leading to the launch of an investigation against her parents on charges of child abuse.

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Legal battle for custody of Ariha

In response to the situation, the Jugendamt quickly took decisive action by placing the girl in foster care, allowing her parents limited visitation rights every two weeks. Simultaneously, the authorities filed a case of child sexual abuse against the parents, launching an investigation. However, the assault charges were ultimately dismissed, and the parents were charged with neglect instead. However, in February 2022, the case against the parents was closed without formal charges being filed against them. Despite this result, the girl did not meet with her parents. Instead, the Jugendamt pursued a civil custody case, seeking to terminate parental rights and gain permanent custody of the child. Since then, her parents have been involved in a legal battle, fighting for custody of her son in German courts. In 2022, a court-appointed psychologist conducted a detailed assessment of the parents’ mental well-being. The evaluation concluded that it would be better for the child to stay with one parent in a special facility where the other parent can visit regularly. However, due to practical reasons such as Bhavesh’s visa expiration, this arrangement was not feasible. Unfortunately, even before a court ruling was issued on the matter, the Jugendamt decided to transfer Ariha to a center specifically designed for children with special needs, where she currently resides.

The repatriation of baby Ariha

The Ministry of Exchange is also making various efforts to bring Ariha back to India. In 2022, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi made a statement saying:

We are dismayed to learn that the child was abruptly removed from her current adoptive father into a specialized foster care arrangement… We would like to reiterate that Ariha Shah is a citizen of India and her nationality and socio-cultural background are the most important determinants of where her foster care will be provided.”

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He further said,

We have been requesting Germany to return the child to India. The Embassy has repeatedly requested the German authorities to ensure that Ariha’s connection to her cultural, religious and linguistic background is not compromised and has requested consular access to the girl, as well as cultural immersion at the Indian Cultural Center in Berlin.”

In an extraordinary display of collaboration between politicians from different parties, 59 members of parliament representing 19 political parties wrote a letter together in 2023. This letter was addressed to Philipp Ackerman, the German ambassador in New Delhi, and its purpose was to request his help in ensuring the safe return of Ariha Shah, a girl who had been living in foster care in Berlin for more than 20 months. The MPs sincerely requested Ambassador Ackerman to do everything in her power to bring Ariha back to India as soon as possible. The letter said,

India may well take care of her own children. We ask her to consider how her country would feel if a German baby were forcibly held in an Indian foster home. The Indian government formally requested the German government to return the child to a Jain foster family in India under the supervision of the Indian child welfare authorities.”

The signatories to the joint letter include notable members of Parliament from various political parties. They include Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Shashi Tharoor of the Congress Party, Hema Malini and Maneka Gandhi of the BJP, Kanimozhi of the DMK, Supriya Sule of the NCP, Mahua Moitra of the TMC, Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP, Manoj Jha of the RJD, Sanjay Singh of the AAP, Elamaran Kareem and John Brittas of the CPM, Harsimrat Kaur Badal of Aka li Dal, Kunwar Danish Ali from BSP, Priyanka Chaturvedi from Shiv Sena (UBT), Binoy Viswam from CPI and Farooq Abdullah from the National Conference.

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A protest organized by people in support of Ariha Shah's return to India.

A protest organized by people in support of Ariha Shah’s return to India.

Facts/Curiosities

  • Although her family follows a strict vegetarian diet, Ariha was fed non-vegetarian food in a foster home.
  • The Ariha Shah case bears striking similarities to the Sagarika Chakraborty case. In 2011, the Norwegian authorities took custody of her two children, citing “inadequate upbringing”. The Hindi film ‘Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway’ (2023), with Rani Mukerji, was inspired by Chakraborty’s arduous battle to be reunited with her children.
    Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway'

    Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway’

Categories: News
Source: dienchau2.edu.vn

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