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Norway Child Custody Row: Twist in the tale

New Delhi, Mar 21 () : Uncertainty never seems to end for the two young Norway-based NRI children,3-year-old Abhigyan and 1-year-old Aishwarya, who were separated from their biological parents by Norwegian Child Welfare Services (CWS) for reasons of parental neglect and emotional disconnect with the children. The children are presently put under foster care.

Just when the case is about to come up for hearing in a local court at Stavanger, Norway on March 23 and when a happy ending is about to unfold, there is a great twist to almost a year-long battle of child custodianship.

In a dramatic turn of the events, the children’s father Anurup Bhattacharya has filed for legal separation from his wife, Sagarika citing reasons of physical assault and her ‘severe psychological problems’. He also wants the children to remain in Norway itself.

According to Gunnar Torensen, head of CWS, the parents have been under intensive counseling for months before the state intervened to put the children in foster care. Toresen has earlier described the children as seriously “damaged” and suffering from “emotional detachment disorder”.

The children’s Kolkata-based uncle Dr Arunabhas Bhattacharya who had been in Norway and taking lessons on child care was likely to become the guardian of the children and the children were expected to be flown back to Kolkata to live with their extended family. Just when there was a huge sigh of relief, Dr Arunabhas turns his back on the young children and say that they are ‘happier with foster parents’. This comes in the wake of the children’s mother, Sagarika threatening him with legal action, fearing separation from her children.

The Norwegian government, who had so far incurred the expenses for this case and frequent travels by the family and officials, will cease to do so. The public outrage and the media criticism of the Norwegian government’s culturally biased moves will no longer hold a strong ground and have proved to be totally unjust.

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