Asansole Police Commissioner offers neutral premises

Efforts are on to end the travel ordeal of Bhattacharya toddlers, Abhigyan and Aishwarya, to meet their mother Sagarika Chakraborty at Burdwan.

Asansole Police Commissioner D.K. Nanda has already offered neutral premises that could be used for a meeting between the mother and her children. If that happens, the children will not have to travel all the way from Kulti to comply with the decisions of the Child Welfare Committee.

As per the Burdwan Child Welfare Committee order, the children’s paternal uncle and legal guardian, Arunabhas Bhattacharya, has to take them to Burdwan to enable their mother exercise her visitation rights.

Asked why the children were being made to travel so far, Kripasindhu Chatterjee, Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee told this reporter over telephone: “I am not obliged to discuss any of the decisions I have taken with the media or anyone else.”

Alternative venue

However, Chairperson of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Shanta Sinha said she would look into the matter and see whether an alternative venue in the children’s hometown of Kulti could be found.

The Norwegian court awarded the custody of the toddlers to their paternal uncle Dr. Arunabhas Bhattacharya earlier this year since the parents, and particularly the mother, Sagarika Chakraborty, were deemed unfit to take care of them.

Agreement signed

The denouement came through an agreement jointly signed by the children’s parents, following a court hearing attended by India’s special envoy Banashri Bose Harisson (Additional Secretary-West), India’s ambassador to Norway and the Embassy’s Consular Officer who attested the agreement.

The Norwegian Child Welfare Service was firm that custody of the children should under no circumstances be awarded to the mother or her family since the boy, Abhigyan, the court averred, suffered attachment disorder and rejected his mother who, the court said shouted at him, slapped him and regularly threatened to abandon him.

Since the children’s return to India, Ms. Chakraborty and her family members have made several attempts to forcibly take the children away from their paternal uncle, it is alleged.

Complaints to this effect made by the children’s guardian have been received by the Ministry of External Affairs and the National Committee for the Protection of Child Rights.

FIR filed

For its part, the Chakraborty family has also filed an FIR against the children’s father, Anurup Bhattacharya, alleging that he took dowry and that he, his parents and even his brother Arunabhas, who is now the children’s custodian, beat and ill-treated Ms. Chakraborty. Ms. Chakraborty has appealed to the National Commission for Women.

This reporter also contacted advocate Nirmal Samant Prabhavalkar, a member of the National Commission for Women who in a letter dated July 2 had instructed Ms. Sinha to contact Dr. Chatterjee in Burdwan and facilitate a meeting between Ms. Chakraborty and her children.

However, she said she was not aware that the children were being made to travel nearly 500 km every week for two meetings with their mother. She assured The Hindu that she would look into the matter.

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