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Kids row: Norwegian envoy hopes India concerned about children

In wake of a legal battle over the custody of two siblings, the Norwegian envoy hoped Indian authorities were compassionate towards their welfare.

Updated: Jan 13, 2013, 22:20 PM IST

Kolkata: In the wake of a bitter legal battle over the custody of two siblings - brought home from Norway after a legal and diplomatic fight last year, the Norwegian envoy Sunday hoped the Indian authorities were compassionate towards the welfare of the children.

"The matter being sub-judice, I cannot comment, but hope the Indian authorities are as compassionate towards the welfare of the children as we are," Norwegian Ambassador to India Eivind S Homme said here.

Homme, on his first visit to the city, also inaugurated a week-long art exhibition on "Hunger" by renowned Indian sculptor and printmaker Somnath Hore. A series of films from across the world on the theme will also be screened.

The Calcutta High Court Jan 10 had granted the custody of two siblings to their mother till the final disposal of the case.

The decision came two days after Abhigyan and Aishwarya were handed over to their mother Sagarika Bhattacharya following a directive from the Burdwan District Child Welfare Committee.

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

The issue led to a furore in India, and sensing the public mood, the Indian government activated the diplomatic channels.

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

Sagarika, who now has an estranged relationship with her husband Anurup, then moved the CWC which November last year gave custody of the children to their mother.

The child panel, responding to the petition, said the interests of the children would be well preserved with their mother, who had also undergone medical tests in Mumbai to prove that she was mentally sound.