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Norway NRI case: Uncle to take custody of kids

NEW DELHI: The two children of an NRI couple who were taken away by the Norwegian Childcare Services on grounds of "emotional disconnect" will be handed over to their uncle following

Published: 25th January 2012 04:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:21 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The two children of an NRI couple who were taken away by the Norwegian Childcare Services on grounds of "emotional disconnect" will be handed over to their uncle following finalisation of an agreement between India and Norway today.

The agreement between Indian government through its mission in Norway, Municipality of Norway, Norwegian Childcare Services, the parents (Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya) and their lawyer named Anurup's brother as the primary caretaker of the two children, official sources said here.

The agreement said the uncle, Arunabhash, has agreed to the parents wish and is aware of the responsibility and he will be the children's primary caretaker, the sources said.

They said Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services) has approved and agreed to give children to the uncle.

Arunabhash, who lives in Kolkata, will soon leave for Norway and all the expenses of his travel will be born by the government, sources said.

However, under the agreement, the parents still have parental and visitation rights, they added.

The sources said the family has to provide information in response to any inquiry by the family and child welfare ministry.

The children Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) were taken under protective care by Barnevarne, which claimed emotional disconnect with the parents, and placed them in foster parental care according to the local Norwegian court's directive.

Following the plea by the family, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna spoke to his Norwegian counterpart and requested them to find an "amicable and urgent" settlement.

India expressed its concerns to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the children were being deprived of the undoubted benefits of being brought up in their own ethnic, religious cultural and linguistic milieu.

Abhigyan and Aishwarya were taken under protective care last May by Barnevarne, which claimed emotional disconnect with the parents, and placed them in foster parental care as per the local Norwegian court's directive.

The Bhattacharyas say cultural misunderstandings are to blame - the Norwegian authorities objected to the children being fed by hand and sleeping in the same bed as their parents.

The other reasons cited were use of unsuitable toys and clothes besides insufficient room for the children to play in the house.

The NRI couple's desperation for a quick resolution also stemmed from concerns that their visas for Norway expire in March.

After that, fighting a legal battle there will prove to be extremely tough, they say.

Following the plea by the family, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had spoken to his Norwegian counterpart and requested them to find an "amicable and urgent" settlement.

India expressed its concerns to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the children were being deprived of the undoubted benefits of being brought up in their own ethnic, religious cultural and linguistic milieu.

"I think the diplomatic pressure has helped," Svein Michelson, Norway Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

The couple were staying in Stavenger, about 500 kms from the Norwegian capital.

Anurup works as a geo-scientist with an American firm Halliburton.



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