Oslo: A Norway court has convicted an Indian couple for alleged child abuse. The police have accused the couple, who is from Andhra Pradesh, of "gross or repeated maltreatment of their children by threats, violence".
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The court awarded 15-month jail to Anupama Vallabhaneni and sentenced her husband, Chandrasekhar, to 18 month in jail.
The parents of the couple broke down after they heard the news. "We will appeal in a higher court," Chandrasekhar's nephew V Sailendra said. He also said the couple was depressed over the court sentencing them without taking into consideration the concerns raised by them. The Vallabhanenis' children - Sai Sriram and two-year-old Abhiram - are with their grandparents in Hyderabad. The family members are also unhappy with the Indian government for not doing anything to help the couple.
The prosecution had pushed for more a year in jail for the parents for allegedly abusing their child. Prosecutors said the child had burn marks and scars and was beaten with a belt - a charge the family has denied.
Documents exclusively accessed by NDTV suggest the parents sought the Norway authorities' help for their son, who was coping with behavioural issues, but were denied access to support services because they are not permanent residents of the country.
Mr Vallabhaneni was deputed to Oslo by his firm, software giant TCS, 18 months ago. His wife and two sons accompanied him. In February, his older son, Sai Sriram, complained to teachers in his school that his parents had threatened to send him back to India after he wet his pants.
The seven-year-old was taken away by child welfare services for eight weeks, but returned to the Vallabhanenis after he was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The family returned to India in July but Chandrasekhar and Anupama were issued notice to appear for a court hearing last week; they were arrested then.
The Indian government has offered assistance to the couple's lawyer through its embassy in Oslo, but also stressed that the dispute is between private citizens and the government of another country, and that the case must be handled according to local laws.
Kalyan Chakravarthy, a child psychiatrist who has worked with Sai Sriram for the last three months, said: "In successive reports that I have faxed to the lawyers in Norway, I have said the child who showed so much improvement has begun to deteriorate physically and emotionally after separation from his parents."
Mrs Vallabhaneni's father, Veerbhadra Rao, says her daughter is a loving and attentive mother who was trying to coach her child to fit in and behave like other children in his school.