Seventh anniversary of the abduction of Amsterdam girl Insiya Hemani
It has been exactly seven years since the violent kidnapping of Insiya Hemani from her grandmother's Amsterdam apartment in Watergraafsmeer. The girl was smuggled across international borders and brought to her father in India. Insiya's mother, Nadia Rashid, is still asking the Dutch government and the royal couple for help to get her now 9-year-old daughter back.
The then two-year-old girl was kidnapped on September 29, 2016, by a group of men. The alleged orchestrator behind the extensively planned kidnapping was Shehzad Hemani, the girl's father. One of the men involved posed as a social worker and gained access to the grandmother's house shortly after Insiya's mother left the home. A short time later, two other men gained entry.
But Nadia Rashid said she is determined, and will not give up the search for her daughter and has been raising awareness about the tragic incident since Insiya's abduction. On Friday, she posted a video on various social media channels showing how she has been fighting to get her young daughter back for the past seven years.
“Insiya, my baby. Mommy will never stop searching for you. And mommy will never stop fighting for you. But now I know you can also find your way back home. Back to mommy. Mommy misses you so much, Insiya. More than words can ever describe. I can not wait to hold you in my arms again. Mommy will be here for you. Always. I love you, Insi,” Nadia Rashid posted on X under her Bring Insiya Back channel. She also addressed the message to a variety of politicians and ministries, including outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius for Justice and Security, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others.
#Insiya, my baby. Mommy will never stop searching for you. Mommy will never stop fighting for you. But now I know you can also find your way back home. Back to mommy. I can’t wait to hold you in my arms again. Mommy will be here for you. Always. I love you, Insi. #bringinsiyaback pic.twitter.com/1jQePi14NM— Nadia Rashid (@NadiaRashid20) September 28, 2023
“You cannot explain in words what this does to a parent. It's heartbreaking. Every day is a struggle to get her back," Rashid told the morning show Goedemorgen Nederland in an interview. “But you're standing there. You do this for your child and you don't give up. You can't give up because your child is counting on you.”
The issue over Insiya Hemani was also raised during a state visit, when Ram Nath Kovind, then the president of India, traveled to the Netherlands in April. “The Dutch authorities have requested through diplomatic channels that Insiya be returned. Since India is not a party to the Hague Child Abduction Convention, India cannot be held to comply with its obligations in that convention. The extradition request for the father has also not been granted by India," Wopke Hoekstra said in response to questions from the Tweede Kamer in 2022.
Furthermore, Insiya's mother discussed the case extensively with then Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders, and an international arrest warrant has been issued for Shehzad Hemani, the girl's father. The verdict in the criminal court case a year ago convicted Shehzad Hemani in absentia, sentencing him to nine years behind bars. He was also ordered to pay a €10,000 fine for each day Insiya is held in India.
In the fight for Insiya's return to the Netherlands, Nadia Rashid also found support from the Dutch royal couple. In April 2022, she met King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, which meant a lot to her. “All the support I receive, especially from the royal couple, ensures that I have the strength to continue,” Rashid said on the morning show Goedemorgen Nederland.
Rashid also pressed Rutte to address the kidnapping during his recent trip to India for the G20 summit.