Norway won’t hand over kids to Indian couple

Last Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 15:20

Oslo: Dealing a blow to an Indian couple battling for custody of their children, Norway`s Child Welfare Service has said the kids cannot go back to India, where they can be caught up in "a very unfortunate tug of war" in the wake of differences between their parents.
"New developments in the child welfare case involving two
Indian children make it impossible to carry out the hearing in
Stavanger District Court that was scheduled for Friday 23
March," the Norwegian Child Welfare Service (CWS) said in a
statement.

The statement follows reports of differences between the
parents -- Anurup and Sagarika Bhhtacharya, whose children
three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya were placed
in foster care in Norway in May last year on grounds of
"emotional disconnect".

Norwegian authorities believe that it would not be in the
"best interests" of the kids that they be moved to India now
amidst differences between the parents.

Over the last few days, both the parents and the
children`s uncle, who was to get the custody of the kids,
"have changed their position several times on the agreement
that had originally been reached. This has caused the Child
Welfare Service to doubt their motives as far as the agreement
is concerned," CWS chief Gunnar Toreseen said.

He said the authorities have been made aware of a
conflict in the family that could influence the outcome of the
case.

"The Municipality of Stavanger will seek to clarify the
next steps to be taken in this case in dialogue with the
lawyer, private parties and Stavanger District Court, since
new developments in the child welfare case involving two
Indian children make it impossible to carry out the hearing"
tomorrow, the CWS statement said.

"The case was due to be heard on the condition that the
parties entered into an agreement that care of the children
should be awarded to their uncle in India. The conflicts over
the last few days between the parents and their respective
families mean the conditions for entering into an agreement of
this kind are no longer present," the statement said.

Noting that there had been close dialogue with the family
throughout the process, which had until now proceeded as
planned, Toreseen said the authorities had now been made aware
of a conflict in the family that could influence the outcome
of the case.

The CWS "is no longer confident that the parties wish to
enter into a genuine agreement. Over the last few days, the
parties to the agreement have provided conflicting and
different information, both to the Child Welfare Service and
to the media, on their positions in the case," he said.

He emphasised that the CWS was well aware that there was
a great deal of external pressure on the family, and that this
made it difficult for them to agree on a clear position. "But
in the light of the great uncertainty that now prevails, the
Child Welfare Service cannot maintain that a move to India
would be in the best interests of the children."

"Even if the parents and the children`s uncle should
nevertheless now want to sign an agreement, the Child Welfare
Service does not have sufficient confidence that an agreement
would be fulfilled as intended, because the necessary
consensus and understanding between the parties and their
families does not exist," he said.

This means that the children could be caught up in "a
very unfortunate tug of war in India," Toresen said.
He said the family no longer appeared to be in agreement,
and the necessary conditions for entering into an agreement of
this kind were therefore not present.

The Child Welfare Service had a clear intention to sign
and implement the agreement but that the events of the last
few days now make this impossible, he said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 11:56

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