#BoycottGermany: Story of baby Ariha Shah kept in Germany as a foster child

People on Twitter are demanding Germany return Ariha shah, a 1.5-year-old girl, to her parents after the release of Rani Mukerji’s Ms. Chatterjee Vs Norway trailer.

What is Ariha’s case?

Ariha’s father, who was an Indian citizen, was posted to Germany on a work visa as a software engineer. In September 2021, Ariha’s paternal grandmother injured the baby by accident.

Ahmedabad’s parents, Bhavesh and Dhara Shah’s one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, named Ariha, were taken away by German child protection services. German authorities had taken Ariha into their custody, alleging that the parents had sexually harassed their child.

When the parents took her to a nearby hospital, they were accused of sexual assault and as a result the baby was taken from them. A criminal investigation was closed without any charges in February 2022.

The parents are only allowed to meet the girl once a month, which the German authorities want to reduce by claiming that the child becomes playful by meeting her parents, which makes her tired.

In December 2022, when the Indian and German foreign ministers held a joint press conference in New Delhi, S. Jaishankar raised the issue of baby Ariha with his German counterpart saying, “We are concerned that the child may be in its language, religious, cultural and social environment. It is his right. And our embassy is pursuing the matter with the German authorities, but it was also a subject that I had raised with the minister.

Ariha would spend two years in foster care

Currently, the German authorities have rejected the request of the parents of Ahmedabad, Bhavesh and Dhara Shah, to allow at least one parent to stay with their daughter Ariha in the foster home where the child is. Authorities denied the request because the foster homes had no room to accommodate another person until August.

Dhara said in August that Ariha would spend two years in foster care and according to the German principle of continuity, if a child is in foster care for two years, the child cannot be returned to his parents because they will be unable to cope with the culture shock.

Ariha Shah is a child of Indian origin who was taken into foster care in Germany in 2019. Her parents had reportedly been seeking asylum in Germany, but their applications were denied, and they were ordered to return to India. The child was taken into foster care while the parents appealed the decision.

The case has been controversial and has gained media attention in both Germany and India. There have been allegations of mistreatment and racism against the German authorities involved in the case, while the Indian government has sought the child’s return to India.

Netizens reaction

Ariha’s parents now feel a glimmer of hope when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on February 25-26 in Delhi. The parents believe that if PM Modi somehow addresses the Ariha issue, there could be a breakthrough in the case.


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