'Parents' of Indian monkey girl claim they lost her a year ago

A couple have come forward claiming to be the parents of a young girl thought to have been raised by monkeys in a northern Indian jungle.

The girl, who was initially nicknamed Durga after the Hindu goddess of destruction, drew comparisons with Mowgli, an Indian boy who was raised by wolves from Rudyard Kipling's fictional The Jungle Book.

Despite medical experts marvelling at her animal-like way of moving and eating less than three weeks ago, they changed their mind just days later, saying Durga - who has severe physical and mental disabilities - was likely abandoned just days before she was found.

"I think the family members of this girl had been aware that she is not able to speak, and they may have abandoned her near the forest road," the district chief forestry officer said at the time.

"If she was living with monkeys it would have been for a few days only, not for a long time."

However the tale has taken yet another twist - with a couple coming forward saying Durga is their daughter - and that they last saw her more than a year ago.

The pair, 35-year-old Nazma Shah and her husband Ramzan Ali, 45, say Durga went missing when they were at a market in their home town of Jaunpur - and they claim they reported her missing but received no help from the authorities.

"The joy of knowing she's alive cannot be expressed in words. I feel so blessed to know we could get her back," Mr Shah said.

"We abandoned all hope. We eventually believed she was dead or picked up by someone, or traffickers. We were devastated.

"My wife did not eat or sleep for several weeks but eventually we had to carry on with our lives."

Mr and Mrs Shah visited a children's home where Durga - who they say was called Aliza in their care - was staying on Monday (local time), but they must now prove they are related to her by way of a DNA test.