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Norwegian child welfare service department to approach court on Mar. 23: MEA

New Delhi, Thu, 01 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 1 (ANI): The Norwegian child welfare service department will approach a court on March 23 to revoke its earlier decision to keep two Indian children in foster care, said a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).


Madhusudan Ganapathy, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said that the Norwegian authorities have evaluated that the uncle of the children, Arunabhas, is qualified to bring up the children of NRI couple Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya.


"Based on the meetings and the final conclusive meeting which I had with the child welfare services, they issued a press release on Tuesday (February 28) where they said that on the basis of evaluation which they had undertaken on the uncle, Arunabhas, the latter was qualified to bring up the children and in an extended family," said Ganapathy.


"And, they will go back to court on the 23rd of March, because the court had earlier ordered that the children will be placed in the foster care, and they will present their evaluation and recommendations for the court to revoke their earlier decision," he added.


Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat, who had met External Affairs Minister S.H. Krishna along with the grandparents of the Indian children last month for an early outcome of the issue, hoped that the children would return to India soon, and also praised the Central Government for taking adequate steps to end the custody row.


"Children will be back in India sooner rather than later and this has been an effective intervention by the Government of India and what is more important, is that a wider message goes that Indian citizens, outside the country who are living a lawful life, earning their livelihood, can and must expect the support of the Government of India in any case of discrimination that they may face," added Karat.


External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna commenting on the issue on Thursday said a judicial process is on, and added that efforts in the direction of getting the children back home will be possible only after the hearing of the case scheduled for March 23.


Relatives of the Indian couple, Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya, whose children were put in foster care by the Norwegian authorities, staged a sit-in protest outside the Norway Embassy here earlier in the day.


The grandparents of the Indian children appeared to be hopeful about the Norwegian Government giving the kids back to their parents through the medium of a court case on March 23.


"Two children of our family have been outside in the foster care for the past nine months. They are very dear to us as they are the heirs of the family. We have got this information that they will be handed over to their uncle. We only want that they should be returned to us," said Ajay Bhattacharya, the grandfather of the children.


"We have nothing to demand as the government has taken the required action. On the 23rd, the government will give the children back to the parents through the medium of a court case. We have got this news," he added.


According to reports, the child welfare officials in Norway have decided that they will recommend in court that the children of Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya, who have been in foster care since May last year, now be placed in the custody of their uncle, Arunabhas Bhattacharya.


Three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya have been placed under the care of two different foster families in Norway. The Norway authorities had said that the children were taken away as their parents, Sagarika and Anurup, were not taking proper care of them.


The parents, however, said the authorities took exception to cultural differences such as sleeping with the children and breastfeeding the daughter at scheduled times as opposed to when she cried. (ANI)


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