Hours after the custody of the two Bhattacharya children was given to their mother Sagarika Chakraborty on the basis of an order of the Burdwan Child Welfare Committee, the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday ordered that the children would remain with their uncle Arunabhas Bhattacharya for the duration of the time it would take to hear the case. The next hearing is slated for January 14.

Earlier during the day, in compliance with the order of the CWC Burdwan, the children, who were living with Dr. Bhattacharya at his home in Kulti in the State’s Burdwan district, were handed over to Ms. Chakraborty.

The Burdwan CWC on November 8 issued an order stating they found “the mother to be fit to take care of the children and their foster carer [Dr. Bhattacharya] to have failed in his duties toward the children.”

Ms. Chakraborty had approached the Calcutta High Court on the delay in compliance with the CWC order. When the matter came up for hearing before the High Court on Tuesday, Justice Dipankar Dutta directed the police to hand back the children to Dr. Bhattacharya.

“As per the order of the CWC, Burdwan, the children were handed over to Ms. Chakraborty in the presence of her parents and members of the CWC, from the custody of the foster home [house of Dr. Bhattacharya in Kulti],” said Ajay Nand, Commissioner of the Asansol-Durgapur Police Commisionerate. He added that the police had exercised utmost restraint over the last two months and the children were handed over during the day without any disturbance.

Dr. Bhattacharya, however, said the children were forcibly taken away from him. He also pointed out that the CWC order was passed without giving him, or his brother Anurup (father of the children) the chance to be heard.

“Since the High Court has asked the children to be returned, the police should ensure their return at the earliest. We only wish that the children are not traumatised in the manner they were taken away,” he said.

Ms. Chakraborty remained unavailable for comment.

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