Nirmal Saha, a resident of Balurghat in West Bengal’s Dakshin Dinajpur district, is afraid that the Child Protection Team of the State of New Jersey, U.S. might take away his grandson Indrashish from his son Debashish (28), an employee with an Information Technology major, and daughter-in law Pamela (25).
Mr. Saha said that his son and daughter-in-law were being denied access to their child over the past few days. The couple landed in New Jersey on July 22. On August 9, their son fell from the bed and suffered injuries to the head. He was admitted to Morris Town Memorial Hospital and according to his father, had to undergo a surgery.
However, since September 6 his access to his son was restricted, claimed Debashish.
“We have been told that we can meet the child for two hours every week, in the presence of a representative of a Child Protection team,” he said, apprehending that the child would be taken away and handed over to foster parents.
Debashish said that it is also difficult for his parents to visit him in New Jersey at such short notice and that he would seek the intervention of the President and the West Bengal Chief Minister in this regard.
A local court that heard the matter on September 7 had asked him to appear again on September 14 with a lawyer, he told The Hindu over telephone from New Jersey.
“It was argued before the court by the Child Protection Team from the Division of Youth and Family Services, of the State of New Jersey that it was not safe to allow the child to return home to us and they will take the custody of the child,” he said.
“The court has directed me to appear with my lawyer and has also asked me to suggest names of relatives to whom the child can be handed over,” he said.
“Am I a criminal that I will harm my child?” he asked, adding that he does not have any relatives in the U.S. to whom the child could be handed over. He added that it was difficult for him to bear the cost of hiring a lawyer.
The couple have urged the Centre to intervene, stating that they are keen to return to India once the child is handed over to them.