India to US: Address parents concerns in custody case
New York: Indian authorities have requested the US State Department to address the concerns of an Indian couple, who have been given limited access to their one-year- old son after he underwent surgery for brain injury and are facing criminal probe for failing to take proper care of him.
The Consulate General of India here has taken up with the US authorities the case of the child, Indrashish Saha, son of Kolkata natives Debashish Saha and Pamela Saha.
The boy is currently in Children`s Specialised Hospital, New Brunswick in New Jersey, and is being treated for injuries he sustained after he apparently fell from his bed at home last month.
Morris Country Prosecutors Office is also conducting a "criminal investigation" against the Sahas on how their son sustained the injuries.
According to a complaint filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, the court has determined that that the "removal of the child is necessary to avoid an ongoing risk to the life, safety or health of the child."
Indrashish is currently under the custody of child welfare services and the Sahas have been allowed to visit him only once a week under the supervision of the division or a division approved supervisor.
Saha conveyed to the Consulate General his concerns as well as those of his family "that the child has not yet been handed over to them," a Consulate statement said.
"The Consulate General has requested the US Department of State (Office of Foreign Missions) in New York to have the concerns of the parents addressed. The embassy of India in Washington has also taken up the matter with the US Department of State," it added.
Saha`s wife had told the doctors that her son fell off the bed while playing and his head hit the floor, after which he became unconscious.
However, the doctors treating Indrashish as well as the welfare agency say that the little boy could not have sustained such serious injuries just by falling off a bed.
His medical condition indicates that he is suffering from "Shaken Baby Syndrome" and his injury is "a high energy injury," the doctors have said.
"Various doctors stated that the injuries Indrashish sustained were not consistent with the explanation that Debashish and Pamela Saha gave but were consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome," the complaint said.
"The child was abused/neglected in that his physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as the result of the failure of his parents to exercise a minimum degree of care and in supplying the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical or surgical care though financially able to do so or in providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship by unreasonably inflicting or allowing to be inflicted harm...," the complaint said.
Saha has denied that he or his wife neglected their child and is seeking support from the Indian government to send Indrashish back to India.
The Sahas made their initial appearance in court on September 7 without a lawyer and the judge has set a date of September 14 when they would have to "show cause why an order should not be entered continuing the child under the care and supervision of the division and in the legal and physical custody of the division."
Saha, who last saw his son on September 6, said he wants to send the child back to India where he has relatives who can take care of him. He said he does not have relatives in US and does not want custody of his child to go to foster parents.
He is also looking for a lawyer to fight the case and said he has been in touch with the Consulate for help.
The child protection division said it has "concerns as to how Indrasish sustained his injuries" and so he should be kept in custody of the court to "safeguard" his health and life."
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