Oslo/New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) Norway’s child welfare service said Tuesday that two children of Indian parents taken into its care will be handed over to their uncle pending a court ruling, even as a special Indian envoy held talks with the Norwegian authorities on the issue.
‘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,’ Norway’s thelocal.no website quoted the child welfare service in Stavanger city as saying.
The grandparents of the children, who are on a four-day protest in New Delhi since Monday demanding their custody be given to their family, expressed happiness over the decision of the Norwegian authorities.
Earlier in the day, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna assured the grandparents that the two children — three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya — of Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, an NRI couple living in Stavanger, will be brought back home to India ‘at any cost’.
Reacting to Norway’s latest decision, children’s grandfather Monotosh Chakraborthy said the family was ‘happy’ over the developments in Norway.
‘All we want is for the children to come back home to their family soon,’ Chakraborthy said.
The children were taken under protective care by Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services) last May last year on the ground that they were not being looked after properly by their parents.
Over a month ago, India and Norway struck an agreement under which the parents named Anurup’s brother Arunabhash Bhattacharya as the primary caretaker of the two children. Arunabhash Bhattacharya is currently in Norway.
The grandparents sat on the second day of their four-day protest Tuesday near the Norwegian embassy in New Delhi, ahead of which they met Krishna. They quoted Krishna as assuring them that the two children would be repatriated ‘at any cost’.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat accompanied the grandparents to Krishna’s office.
Chakraborthy said ministry of external affairs Secretary (West) M. Ganapathi, sent to Norway to resolve the case, was returning to India Wednesday.
Karat said the details of Ganapthi’s meetings in Oslo would be known only when he returns, but Krishna was of the view that the envoy’s meetings in Norway were ‘positive’.
In Oslo, Ganapthi had met Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store and urged him to hasten the return of the two children.