A parenting row involving an Indian couple in Norway took a serious turn on Saturday with an Oslo court placing software engineer Vallabhaneni Chandrasekhar and wife Anupama in judicial remand for alleged child abuse.
Police expressed concern over some welts on the boy’s body, but his parents sought to describe that as routine injuries that occur during play.
In a related development, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid articulated India’s hands-off approach, saying New Delhi could not interfere too actively in a case of “private citizen” violating the laws of another country.
In Oslo, prosecutors pressed criminal charges against the couple of “gross or repeated maltreatment” of Sai Sriram (7) through “threats, violence or other wrongs”. While seeking custody, the Oslo police said there was reason to fear that the parents would evade prosecution by returning to India. The Oslo District Court is expected to pronounce its verdict on December 3. If found guilty, they face a minimum sentence of 15 months.
Sriram, a class II student of the Oslo International School, was found to have wet his pants in a school bus, which was reported to his father, who in turn allegedly “threatened” the child that he would be sent back to India if he repeated it. The child mentioned this to his teacher, who reported the case to the country’s Child Welfare Service. Family sources in Hyderabad confirmed that the parents were questioned about it a few months ago.
Oslo police said the prosecution proposed 15-month and 18-month sentences for the mother and father, respectively.
Meanwhile, V Satyanarayana and L Veera Bhadra Rao, fathers of Chandrasekhar and Anupama wrote to Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi seeking government assistance to bring back the couple.