Indian family, Norway in custody row

2012-02-27 15:00

New Delhi - The grandparents of two Indian children taken into protective care by Norwegian social workers staged a protest in New Delhi on Monday to demand the children's immediate return to their parents.

"The children are Indian citizens. Norway has no right to keep the children in foster care," the toddlers' grandfather Monotosh Chakraborty said outside the Norwegian embassy where he and other relatives began a four-day protest.

The case has stirred emotions in India and took on a diplomatic dimension last month when Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna demanded that Norway "find an amicable and urgent solution".

India on Monday sent a special envoy to Oslo to meet the Norwegian foreign minister and other officials to discuss the case.

The two children, aged three and one, were removed from their parents in May last year by the Norway's Child Protection Services (CPS) which deemed they were not receiving proper care at home in the southwestern town of Stavanger.

The parents, Norwegian residents Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, have rejected the allegation and are fighting to return to India with their children.

No lessons needed

The Indian government has told Norway that the children are being deprived of the benefits of being brought up in their own cultural and linguistic environment and should return to India as soon as possible

The grandparents said they were hoping for a final decision in early March.

"We want our children back and we need no lessons from Norway on how to raise children," Chakraborty said.

"We just have one plea: Norway send our children home," he added.

On February 17, the Norwegian authorities allowed the parents to see their children for the first time in three months.

The welfare services have refused to detail why the children were removed, citing confidentiality, but have said such moves are made only in situations that endanger the child or where the child's needs are not sufficiently met.

  • michael.a.devilliers - 2012-02-27 15:26

    Strange that these parents are residents in Norway, but are keen to flee with their children back to India now that these allegations surface... This inter-country custody battle and "emotional" issue seems to be smoke and mirrors concealing the real problem.

      rajeshsood - 2012-02-27 16:12

      "keen to flee with their children.." ! Michael your words are offensive. This whole episode is an insult to the nation of India. Our culture and ways of parenting are different ! If there was something wrong with us then we would not produce the doctors/ engineers/ scientists that we supply to the western world ! There is very little merit to any of what Norwegian authorities are claiming. There is nothing wrong in feeding your kids by hand or for them to sleep in your bed. Small kids are scared to sleep alone ! This family were in Norway on a visa, they are not permanent residents nor are they citizens. Norway has no claim on them and as per international law India has to get involved in the protection of its citizens.

  • shelley.nott - 2012-02-27 16:10

    @Rikesh - I doubt that any country would remove young children because they share a bed. You stated that like you have inside information; maybe you are just listening to the parent's cries of innocence, and not looking at the whole truth. If the parents are negligent or abusive then I hope that Norway doesn't let India bully them into handing the poor kids back into that kind of situation

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