Father Anurup appealed to Mamata Banerjee, while mother Sagarika sought CWC's intervention

In the wake of the recent row between the families of Anurup Bhattacharya and Sagarika Chakraborty over the custody of their children, Abhigyan and Aishwarya, who were with the Norwegian Child Welfare Service for ten months before returning to India last month, Mr. Bhattacharya on Friday appealed to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to intervene in the matter.

In another significant development, his wife Sagarika had last week filed a petition with the State's Child Welfare Committee (CWC), seeking its intervention in obtaining custody of her children, according to the Committee's chairperson Minati Adhikari.

“Since there is an international treaty signed by both Sagarika and Anurup to hand over their custody to his brother, Arunabhash, we will have to take a look into its contents before we initiate action. There is an annexure to the treaty not given to us as yet. Until we study its clauses, we cannot proceed,” Ms. Adhikari told The Hindu here on Sunday.

She said the district CWC had already provided assistance to Sagarika when the latter wanted to meet her children last week.

The children were brought back to the country a month ago after the District Court in Stavanger, Norway, ruled that the children's custody would be handed over to their uncle, Mr. Bhattacharya's younger brother, Arunabhash.

Mr. Bhattacharya's petition to Ms. Banerjee seeks the support of the West Bengal government for his brother and family “so that the interests of the two small children are saved”.

Matters took an ugly turn last week when Sagarika and her parents were allegedly denied the opportunity to meet the children. While the Chakrabortys claim that they were not allowed to meet the children, the Bhattacharyas alleged that they had threatened to take the children away. Both sides have filed police complaints against each other.

‘Children come first'

“My only request is that the interest of the children should be protected first and not that of the parents. As a father, I also have rights. Both Sagarika and I agreed to give up our rights and let Arunabhash be their guardian,” Mr. Bhattacharya told The Hindu over telephone from Stavanger.

“If the agreement is to be challenged, let it be challenged in a court of law. But my brother, who is starting out his career and also has to look after the children, should not be troubled,” he said.