Norway custody: Kids to be handed over to uncle
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Last Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012, 00:22
Zeenews Bureau

Oslo: After being kept in foster care for nearly ten months, NRI children Abhigyan and Aishwariya will be handed to their paternal uncle, Norway's Child Welfare Service (CWS) said on Thursday night.

"The CWS now recommends that the uncle takes over care of the two Indian children in the child welfare case and a Stavanger District Court will make the final decision on April 17", said CWS Communication Adviser Thomas Bore Olsen in an emailed statement.

He said if the court decides that the children should be removed from the care of the public authorities, "the agreement can be implemented as soon as practicable. The uncle will then take over the care of the children and take them back to India".

One-year-old Aishwarya and three-year-old Abhigyan, have been in foster care since May 2011 after it was decided by a local child welfare officials that their parents, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya were unfit parents. They had said that their son suffered from an attachment disorder.

The District Court was to have decided on March 23 whether the children should be handed over to their paternal uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya but the hearing was cancelled following differences between the children's parents--father Anurup Bhattacharya and mother Sagarika Bhattacharya.

After a series of flip flops, the parentrs and the uncle had prepared a new agreement for giving the custody of the children to Arunabash and they got it attested by the Indian Embassy in Oslo.

Gunnar Toresen, head of the Child Welfare Service in Stavanger, said the uncle had been concerned about the validity of the agreement in India.

However, "after further talks with the uncle, the Child Welfare Service is now convinced that he is motivated to take care of the children".

"The uncle was also concerned that he would not have sufficient support and assistance with the care of the children on return to India. The situation is now different. The true basis for the case has now been made known in India, and he feels that he now has strong support there," said Toresen.

He "emphasised the Child Welfare Service has all along been confident that the uncle could provide good care of the children".

Three days ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken up the issue of the two children with Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on the margin of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.

Singh had told Stoltenberg that India was keen to find an "amicable" and "good" solution to the custody battle of two NRI children within the ambit of law.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said in the Lok Sabha today while replying to a Calling Attention on the issue, “"We are taking it up, putting pressure on... indications might that soon they will be in their natural habitat. We would like to see the children back in their natural habitat."

She added that the government was "doing all it can to bring the children back".

With PTI inputs

First Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 22:37

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