Custody row: Parents reunite with kids in Norway

The distressed Indian couple - Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya meet their two kids in Norway on Friday.

Oslo: Distraught parents of two Indian-
origin children held in Norway under protective care on Friday had
an emotional re-union with their kids and hoped that the
family`s suffering will end soon, months after the issue
triggered a diplomatic row.

NRI couple, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, met their
children Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) for two hours after a
gap of three months at the foster home in Stavanger under
close observation of child welfare authorities.

The meeting took place in the presence of the kids` uncle
Arunabhash, a social services representative and a member of
the foster family temporarily caring for the children.

"Our children were very happy to see us. The meet was
really good. Abhigyan hugged me tight. The hug I was missing
for the last three months," a visibly happy Anurup said.

He said the family had made some Indian food for their
children which they liked.

"We also played a lot with them," he said.
An emotional Sagarika said they wanted their children
back as soon as possible and get them back to India.

"I just want that Abhigyan and Aishwarya should be in the
custody of their family now and they will be back soon in
India. We are praying to god that we get our children back as
soon as possible," she said.

The children were taken under protective care in May last
year by Barnevarne, the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, on
the ground of "emotional disconnect" with the parents, and
placed them in foster parental care according to a local
Norwegian court`s directive.

Earlier in the day, Barnevarne said that they will take a
decision by early March on whether the custody of the two
children can be awarded to their uncle after which an
arrangement will be put in place to take care of their needs
back home.

The Child Welfare Service in Stavanger said the two
children from West Bengal are developing well and that their
parents "have the opportunity" to spend time in accordance
with the decision of the county board for child and social

"The Child Welfare Service aims to evaluate whether care
of the two Indian children who have been placed in a Norwegian
foster home can be awarded to the brother of the children`s
father," Gunnar Toresen, Head of the Child Welfare Service,
said in a statement.

As India stepped up pressure on Norway to find an
"amicable and urgent" solution to the case, an agreement was
given to Barnevarne by the parents and their lawyer saying
that the kids` uncle Arunabhash has agreed to be the prime
caregiver to the children.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had spoken to his
Norwegian counterpart regarding the case last month.


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