Father in US child custody row seeks India’s help

The father of an Indian child, who has been taken into custody by child welfare services in New Jersey on Monday pleaded for Indian government`s help.

New York: The father of an Indian child, who has been taken into custody by child welfare services in New Jersey on Monday pleaded for Indian government`s help to send his son back to India and sought its financial support in fighting the legal case.

Debashsish Saha said he last saw his son Indrashish on September 6. He wants to send his son back to India where relatives can take care of him after the agency said he should identify relatives in the US who can take care of the little boy.

"I want to send my son back to India right away. This is my plea to the Indian government," Debashsish told PTI here.

Debashsish said he does not have relatives in the US who can take custody of the child and he is afraid of letting his child be brought up by strangers here.

"If my son is here (among strangers), it will be difficult for him. He does not understand the language and understands only Bengali. He will be left confused," Debashsish said.

Nirmal and Sonarani Saha, the grandparents of the child Indrasish, had said yesterday in Kolkata that the boy fell from the bed on August 9 at the couple`s New Jersey home when his mother Pamela was cooking and his father was in office.

Indrashish was immediately rushed to a state-owned hospital where he was admitted by doctors and underwent a surgery, Nirmal Saha had said.

After Indrashish got well, his parents wanted to take him home but the hospital authorities refused to hand him over to them as the Child Protection Organisation alleged that the parents had failed to take proper care of him, the grandfather said.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has sought a report from the New York consulate about the custody row.

Debashsish cited the example of the custody battle over two Indian infants in Norway earlier this year, saying he fears for the health and mental well-being of his child if he is not allowed to send him back to India.

"I do not want the same thing to happen to my kid. I don`t have any relatives here who can help me. So how will I manage. I have a number of relatives India but I do not have any one here," he said, his voice shaking.

Debashsish said he will continue his legal fight to get back the custody of his child, for which he pleaded help from the Indian government. He however added that right now his top priority is that "I want my baby to be safe and want him to be send back to India."

Debashsish also made a request to the Indian governemnt to help him fight the legal battle saying he does not have the financial resources to pursue a lengthy legal case.

"Please pass my message to the Indian government. I need their help regarding this matter, including any kind of legal help as legal services are very expensive and at this point I cannot afford that," he added.

Debashsish had contacted officials at the Indian Consulate here who had adcvised him to engage legal advisers. Saha said he will meet them again today to sort out the matter.

The New Jersey court that is hearing the case has set a September 14 date for the next hearing in the case.


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