Norway child row: Indian Govt adopts wait and watch approach

Indian government is weighing the odds carefully in case of Andhra couple`s arrest in Norway as the incident relates to a private citizen and the local law. Chandrashekhar Vallabhaneni and his wife Anupama were arrested by Norway’s police for chiding their son.

Updated: Dec 01, 2012, 22:50 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi/Oslo: Indian government is weighing the odds carefully in the case of Andhra couple`s arrest in Norway, as the incident relates to a private citizen and the local law.

Stating that there could be more to the case than what meets the eye, the Ministry of External Affairs, which had stepped in after the couple`s family urged the government to, was wary of disclosing the details to protect the child.

"This is an issue that relates not to the government. It relates to a private citizen and to the local law of that country," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told agencies.

"Sometimes, we express concern about something that happens to citizen of our country but within the parametres of the law as is applied by those countries.

"But of course there is public interest and concern. Our Mission will make contact and do whatever is appropriate and necessary," Khurshid said.

As per reports, government sources hinted that there was a possibility of wrongdoing on the couple`s part too, since the family had trouble with Norwegian authorities in the past as well.

The couple was remanded to custody over fear that they could evade prosecution by returning to India, a statement by Oslo Police Department had said.

Chandrashekhar Vallabhaneni and his wife Anupama were arrested by Norway’s police on Monday for chiding their son.

The couple has been charged with `gross/repeated maltreatment` of their child by threats, violence/other wrong doing, under Section 219 of Norwegian law, added reports.

The prosecution has reportedly proposed a sentence of 1 year and 3 months for the mother, and 1 year and 6 months for the father of the child.

The Court of Appeals is in process of hearing the defence`s appeal and the judgment will be pronounced in Oslo District Court on December 03.

The couple was arrested nine months after their seven-year-old child Sriram complained to his school teachers that his parents were threatening to send him back to India for wetting his pants.

Originally hailing from Krishna district in coastal Andhra, Chandrasekhar was sent to Oslo by his company last year to handle a project. The family returned home in July this year.

Chandrasekhar again left for Norway on November 23 for work. This time he went only with his wife leaving behind his both sons. A court in Oslo issued summons and later police arrested them.

Anupama`s lawyer Marte Brotrome said it was wrong to keep the Indian couple in prison in Norway. "If the court sentences them, we will appeal against it," she told NDTV.

"They (couple) have done everything they have been told to do," she said rejecting the charge that the parents had beaten their children.

"They didn`t hurt their children...They had some difficulties in handling the boy but they didn`t hurt him and they didn`t mean to do anything wrong. They tried to get help but they did not get any help," she said.

The doctor treating the 7-year-old boy in Hyderabad said that he had not seen any signs of physical or corporal punishment. "The child did not show any signs of fear of parents. In fact he was very close to them”

Chandrasekhar`s parents and other family members here were worried about the couple. They appealed to the state and the central government to intervene to seek their release.

According to the report, the child welfare authorities took Sriram for a month, but later returned him to his parents.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy directed Chief Secretary Minni Mathew to get in touch with the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs to seek the release of the couple.

With agency inputs