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Children from Norway: Panel gives custody to mother

West Bengal,Immigration/Law/Rights,Politics, Thu, 08 Nov 2012 IANS

Kolkata, Nov 8 (IANS) The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in West Bengal Thursday gave the custody of two NRI children, who were earlier under the care of Norwegian authorities, to their mother Sagarika, a member of the panel said.

However, Sagarika could not get the physical possession of her children due to a "slack administration" despite the Burdwan district CWC's order.

"On the basis of the Juvenile Justice Act, a biological parent should be the first caregiver of a child. Since the father of the children is in Norway and has not visited them in the last six months, we order their custody be given to their mother Sagarika," CWC chairperson Sikha Aditya told IANS.

Aditya blamed the Burdwan district administration for its failure to recover the custody of Abhigyan and Aishwarya, aged three and one, respectively, who are currently under the care of their uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya.

"The police have been totally uncooperative. In spite of the order, they did nothing to recover the custody of the children from Arunabhash and hand them over to Sagarika," added Aditya.

The two children were taken under emergency foster care in May 2011 by the Norwegian child welfare, on the grounds of alleged negligence by their parents - then residing in the Scandinavian nation.

After the Indian government's intervention, a court in Norway ordered that the children be placed in the custody of their uncle Bhattacharya following which they were brought to their home in West Bengal's Burdwan district in April.

Sagarika expressed happiness over the order but blamed the police for not getting the custody of their children.

Bhattacharya claimed ignorance about the order but said he would move the court against it.

"The children were handed over to me as per an agreement between the authorities of the two governments. The CWC is not a court and they just cannot give the custody of the children to their mother. We will move court against the order," he said.

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