This Article is From Jan 24, 2012

Norway custody row: Grandparents likely to get custody as compromise

New Delhi: An NRI couple in Oslo fighting to win back custody of their children - currently in foster care - could receive some good news soon. Sources say that after the Indian government's intervention, Norway is likely to grant the custody of the children to their maternal grandparents, who live in Kolkata. They will have to submit an undertaking in court, stating they will take full responsibility of the children, sources add.

Foreign Minister SM Krishna met with Norwegian officials on Monday evening in Delhi. "After my talks with local embassy and Norway foreign minister, I have come to the conclusion that a reasonable settlement can be worked out," he said.

"I am hopeful of a settlement that is in accordance with India's legitimate expectation and also in accordance with the Norwegian legal system," said Aslak Brun, the Norwegian envoy.

For over seven months now, Sagarika and Anurup have been fighting to get their two little children back from child care authorities in Norway.

Speaking to NDTV, Anurup Bhattacharya, the father, said "Whatever we know we know from the media. Nothing has been communicated to us officially. We saw the press conference (of SM Krishna). We are very hopeful now."

The children were placed in foster care by child welfare services in Norway in May last year.

Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya say their three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter were taken away after they were found sleeping in the same bed as their parents, and because they ate with their hands. Norwegian authorities have said they found emotional disconnect between the Bhattacharyas and their children, Abhigyan and Aishwarya.

The Bhattacharyas' visas for Norway expire in March. Their maternal grand-parents, Monotosh and Shikha Chakravarty, met President Pratibha Patil over the weekend to seek her intervention.

The Indian government has highlighted that the children need to be in an environment which is culturally and linguistically familiar to them. 

Even BJP leader Sushma Swaraj condemned the action by the Norway Child Protective Services on the microblogging site Twitter today. "The snatching of two little kids from their parents in Norway is shocking. I cannot imagine what the parents and kids must be going through," she tweeted.

"I do not know the logic behind the Norwegian laws. One thing is clear - they do not know the Indian culture and sensibilities," she added.