Norway custody row: Kids unite with mother, HC sends them back to uncle
In a fresh double twist, the custody of two siblings - brought from Norway after a legal and diplomatic fight last year - passed on to their uncle, hours after the Burdwan policemen handed them over to their mother.
Kolkata: In a fresh double twist, the custody of two siblings - brought from Norway after a legal and diplomatic fight last year - passed on to their uncle, hours after the Burdwan policemen handed them over to their mother.
Earlier in the day, the Burdwan police officials gave custody of Abhigyan and Aishwarya to their mother Sagarika Bhattacharya following a directive from the district child welfare committee.
But within hours, the Calcutta High Court, after hearing an appeal by their foster parent-cum-uncle Arunabhas Bhattacharya, returned the children to his custody.
Abhigyan and Aishwarya, aged three and one, were taken under emergency foster care in May 2011 by the Norwegian child welfare agency, on grounds of alleged negligence by their parents - then residing in the Scandinavian nation.
The issue led to a furore in India, and sensing the public mood, the Indian government activated the diplomatic channels.
After the Indian government's intervention, a Norway court ordered that the children be placed in the custody of their uncle following which they were brought to their home in West Bengal's Burdwan district in April last year.
Sagarika, who now has an estranged relationship with her husband Anurup, then moved the CWC which November last year gave custody of the children to their mother.
The child panel, responding to the petition, said the interests of the children would be well preserved with their mother, who had also undergone medical tests in Mumbai to prove that she was mentally sound.
In pursuance of the order, the Burdwan police accompanied the child panel members to Arunabhas's house in Kulti - about 250 km from the city - and took the children to hand them over to Sagarika.
But a little latter, the high court directed upholding of the order of the Norway court which had ruled that the children's custody be given to their uncle.
Justice Dipankar Dutta issued the orders after the duo were handed over to their mother, Sagarika Bhattacharya and her father Monotosh Chakraborty.
The court said the petiton of the mother, who has moved the high court seeking custody of her children, would be heard Monday.
A Kolkata-based NGO has appealed to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to assist it in bringing back to India the two children who are in the midst of a custody row in Norway.
Should the Indian government have paused to understand the Norwegian system better before rushing in to support the Bhattacharyas?