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Norway custody row: Brinda Karat confident children will be back in India

New Delhi, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Apr 23 (ANI): Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) polit bureau member Brinda Karat on Monday expressed confidence that the Indian children, currently placed in a foster home in Norway, would be back in India soon.

The remarks of Karat, who highlighted the plight of the Indian family before the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), comes even as a court in Norway delivers its verdict in the custody case today.

"The children were snatched away or forcibly taken from the custody of their parents without there being any emergency to do so. But, I think it is the end of the nightmare now. I am very confident that the children will be back in India. I think it is the first time that the Child Protection Services have had to reverse their decision that the children will be in Norway till 18 years. So, I am confident that the children will be back," said Karat.

"Well, at present the Norwegian authorities believe that they can decide best who the primary child caregiver should be. They have absolutely no experience of it, but they believe that it is up to them to decide who the primary child caregiver will be. At present, the children are coming back with their uncle and the children will be part of the extended family and looked after. I think as a first step, it's a very very significant and important decision that at least the children will be back home with their extended family," she added.

When asked to comment on the message that is going out following this unpleasant case, Karat said: "The first message is that beware when you go to Norway because Child Protection Services have an authority, which is unbelievable and their understanding of parental care is highly questionable and dubious because the United Nations itself has criticized the Norwegian authorities for overreach in their interventions."

The CPI-M leader also lauded the efforts put in by the Central Government for the safe release of Indian children in Norway.

"The second message, which goes out is that the Government of India's role has been a very positive role, and, I think, this must continue because if you look at other countries when their citizens are unnecessarily harassed, or their children have been subjected to this kind of cruelty, then their governments most definitely intervene," said Karat.

"Here, there is a case, where no crime has been committed, but Indian citizens have been subjected to this kind of.... I don't know it seems to me to be an extremely authoritarian understanding of what parental care is. Therefore, the government's intervention is very critical in such cases. And I am happy that the Government of India has been sensitive in this case. I hope other Indian citizens across the world will also get the same support of the government when there is no crime committed," she added.

During the hearing in the case involving two Indian children, which was held in the Stavanger District Court on April 17, the Child Welfare Services (CWS) and the children's parents and the uncle submitted a joint statement to the court stating that they agreed to the solution that the children's uncle would be their guardian.

The CWS, which has kept the children in foster care since May last year, made a recommendation to the Stavanger district court that the children's custody should be given to the uncle and that they should be allowed to return to India.

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