Norway: Grandparents to get kids’ custody?
New Delhi: A day after India stepped up the pressure on Norway for the release of two children of an NRI couple, sources said the Norwegian government is likely to hand over the custody of the kids to their grandparents who live in Kolkata.
According to sources, the grandparents would have to give an undertaking in a Norwegian court that they will take full care of the children.
After External Affairs Minister SM Krishna spoke to his Norwegian counterpart yesterday, Oslo had expressed hope of an "acceptable" settlement. It had however refused to give any time frame for it.
Krishna yesterday also summoned Norway’s Charge d`Affairs Aslak Brun to reiterate India`s concerns over the separation of two children from their natural parents by the Norwegian Childcare Services which placed them under foster care.
"Given the children`s very young age, removal from the care of their natural parents and to be placed in foster care till they turn eighteen is an extreme step which should normally be a last resort. The circumstances as known to the Indian government do not appear to justify such measures in the present case," Krishna told reporters.
He said he has requested the Norwegian government to find an "amicable and urgent solution" in the matter. However, the minister did admit that there was a "problem" since the matter was before the Norway court and the Norwegian judicial system was seized of the matter and therefore, it has to be settled through Indian mission and other stakeholders.
After his meeting with Krishna, Brun said, "Through this constructive and close dialogue, we are very hopeful we will have settlement that will be both acceptable within Norwegian legal system and also in accordance with the legitimate concerns of the Indian government.”
When asked if the issue could be resolved before the expiry of the visa of the parents of Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) who were taken away by Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services) claiming emotional disconnect, Krishna said he was hopeful that it can be worked out.
Three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya, children of Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, an NRI couple living in Stavanger, Norway, were taken under protective care by Barnevarne in May on grounds that they were not looked after properly by their parents.
Barnevarne has placed them in foster parental care as per the directive of the local Norwegian court, mandated under Norwegian laws.
Meanwhile, Barnevarne has sought concrete details regarding how the children will be looked after, who in the extended family would be the children`s primary care giver and how Indian authorities will follow up the matter and ensure that the children`s needs are met.
(With agency inputs)
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