New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) The ordeal of an NRI couple whose two children were taken away by the Norwegian Childcare Services on grounds of “emotional disconnect” and “improper” upbringing is set to end with an agreement Wednesday between India and Norway to hand the kids over to their uncle.
The agreement was struck between the Indian government through its mission in Norway, Municipality of Norway, Norwegian Childcare Services and the parents (Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, an NRI couple living in Stavanger, Norway).
Under the pact, the parents’ lawyer named Anurup’s brother Arunabhash Bhattacharya as the primary caretaker of the two children, Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (one year old), official sources said here.
The agreement came a couple of days after External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna spoke to his Norwegian counterpart and stressed that Oslo should work out a settlement with the immediate family of the two kids who are now in foster care on the orders of a local court there.
Arunabhash Bhattacharya has agreed to the parents wish and is aware of the responsibilities that go with being the children’s primary caretaker, the sources said. The parents will, however, have parental and visitation rights, said the sources.
The Kolkata-based Arunabhash will soon leave for Norway and all the expenses of his travel will be borne by the government.
The parents have also agreed to provide information in response to any inquiry by Norway’s family and child welfare ministry.
Abhigyan and Aishwarya, were taken under protective care by Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services) in May last year on grounds that they were not looked after properly by their parents.
Barnevarne had placed them in foster parental care as per the directive of the local Norwegian court, mandated under Norwegian laws.
Following appeals for help by parents, India had issued a couple of strong demarche to Norway and made it clear that the decision of the Norwegian Childcare Services to separate two children from their NRI parents was an extreme step and unjustified.
Stressing respect for cultural values, the Indian government had said it “is concerned that there may have been insufficient regard paid to the undoubted benefits of bringing up the children in their own ethnic, religious cultural and linguistic milieu while putting them in foster care”.
The government stressed that the children be allowed to return to India so that they can be brought up in familiar surroundings in the loving care of their extended family.