New Delhi, Feb 28: In a breakthrough in the NRI children custody row, the Norwegian Child Welfare Service today decided to award the custody of two children to the brother of their father enabling him to bring them back to India.
“This week, the Child Welfare Service (CWS) in Stavanger completed its talks with the uncle in the child welfare case concerning two Indian children. It has been concluded that care of the two children should be awarded to the brother of the children’s father enabling him to take the children back to India,” CWS said in a press statement.
The proposed solution will be presented on March 23, the provisional date for the hearing, to Stavanger District Court which will take the final decision in the case.
This arrangement requires, however, that the Child Welfare Service ensures that the necessary legal framework and follow-up procedures are in place in order to safeguard the children’s best interests and enable the uncle to deal with the situation in the best possible way, CWS said.
Abhigyan (1) and Aishwarya (3), children of Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, an NRI couple living there, were taken away by Barnevarne Norwegian CWS last May on the ground of “emotional disconnect” and put in a foster home.
Ministry of External Affairs has been making huge efforts to impress upon the Norwegian authorities to find an amicable and urgent solution to the row with Minister S M Krishna assuring that the children would be brought home at “any cost”.
In the statement, the CWS also said “the Norwegian authorities will ask the Indian authorities to ensure the necessary follow-up for the children in the event of their return to India”.
In order to process the case concerning the two Indian children who were taken into the care of Stavanger municipality and placed in a Norwegian foster home, the Child Welfare Service has had to apply for an extension to the children’s residence permits,” it said.
“Extending the residence permit for the children in a case such as this is a practical technicality and does not mean that the Child Welfare Service is seeking to keep the children in Norway for longer than is necessary to arrive at a satisfactory solution to the case,” it added.