'Separating kids from parents unjustified'



New Delhi: Issuing a strong demarche to Norway, the second in nearly a week, India has said that its actions of separating two children from an NRI couple was unjustified.

The government emphasised that the children be allowed to return to India so that they can be brought up in familiar surroundings under the loving care of their extended family.

The Ministry of External Affairs yesterday issued "strong" demarches to the Norwegian embassy here voicing concern that the circumstances prevailing in this case may not justify an extreme step like long-term separation from natural parents.

Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya's children Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) were taken under protective care by Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services), which claimed emotional disconnect with the parents, and placed them in foster parental care according to the local Norwegian court's directive. The couple has appealed against the court decision.

"Further, the Government is concerned that there may have been insufficient regard paid to the undoubted benefits of bringing up the children in their own ethnic, religious cultural and linguistic milieu while putting them in foster care," an External Affairs Ministry statement said here.

It said the government reiterated that return of the children to India so that they can be brought up in familiar surroundings under the loving care of their extended family would be in their best long-term interests.

This is the second demarche issued by India to Norway in the last eight days.

The Norwegian authorities have expressed understanding for the government's concerns. The matter will continue to be pursued with them actively, the Ministry said.

PTI