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India will provide help to the mother whose boy has been taken away by Norway: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said India will provide help on the request of the mother of the boy, who has been taken away by the Norway authorities even as Norwegian embassy here asked for "restraint" in the case, assuring that it is being handled with "complete sensitivity and awareness".

Swaraj's reaction came a day after she had asked the Indian Ambassador in Oslo to send a report on the allegations made by the couple that the Norwegian authorities took away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse. While father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian citizen.

"I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national," Swaraj tweeted.

Reacting to the case, the Spokesperson in Norwegian Embassy said the mission is aware and understands "the concerns on the ongoing child welfare case involving an Norwegian/Indian family in Norway".

 India will provide help to the mother whose boy has been taken away by Norway: Sushma Swaraj

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

"The Embassy would like to reiterate that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The basic principle of the Act is that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

"Since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. The Embassy, therefore, requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness. When available and permissible, updates on the case will be provided to the media and the general public."

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.

In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.

In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Later, briefing reporters, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian Embassy in Oslo is following up the matter.

"Our Ambassador has already established contact with the father who is a Norwegian citizen as is the child. The mother, however, is an Indian passport holder. Following the custody of the child by Norway's Child Welfare Services (CWS), legal proceedings are currently underway regarding the continuation of such custody," he said.

The ministry has been informed that the father has engaged a Norwegian lawyer to pursue the matter in the court, Swarup said.

"Given the seriousness of the issue, should we receive a formal representation from the mother, who is an Indian national, our Embassy remains fully prepared to engage with local authorities to impress upon them that this is a humanitarian issue and that the separation of a child from his parents is a matter of distress to the entire family," he added.

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Updated Date: Dec 23, 2016 20:55:26 IST