Norway custody row: Kids to return to India

The court gave the custody of Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) to their uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The paternal uncle of the NRI children in Norway was handed over their custody on Monday by a Norwegian court. The children are slated to return to India soon.

The court gave the custody of Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) to their uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya, after submission of an agreement signed by the Service, parents and uncle stating that the conditions for the care of the children in India have been met.

Abhigyan and Aishwarya were forcibly taken away from their parents - Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, an NRI couple - and put under foster care by Norwegian authorities. The ground for the same was cited as "emotional disconnect".

The court was fully satisfied with the steps taken by the Indian government and agreed to hand over the children to their uncle saying it was better for them to grow in India due to cultural differences, according to the sources. The Child Welfare Service (CWS) had submitted that there was no need to uphold the care order and it was in the best interest of the kids to return to their home country.

The CWS has, on the basis of an expert assessment, "concluded that it is in the children`s best interests that they return home to India with their uncle," a statement by the Service said last week.

As per sources, there might be some groups in Norway who may who might file for a stay order in the case to stop the children from returning home to India.

The custody issue of the NRI children has been going on for months, with the matter threatening to turn into a major diplomatic row between India and Norway. India had taken up the matter with Norway and had even sent its envoy to there. In India too, the children’s maternal grandparents had been rallying support from all quarters to get them back to their country.

Norwegian authorities had agreed to return the kids if the custody was given to someone other than the parents. The children’s fate had been hanging in balance for a long time now, especially when their father had claimed that his wife was mentally unbalanced and that he wanted a divorce from her.

The issue also came up for discussion between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg, during a pull-aside meeting on the sidelines of the recently concluded Nuclear Safety Summit at Seoul, South Korea.

PM Singh expressed hope for an "amicable and good" solution to the custody crisis.

With PTI inputs

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