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Couple in Norway hope to meet children this week

Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya, the expatriate couple whose children were taken away by the Norwegian Child Welfare Services last year, are hopeful that they will be permitted to meet their children later this week — the first time in over three months.

“We have a meeting with the authorities of the Norwegian Child Welfare Services tomorrow [Wednesday] and we are hopeful that we will be given permission to meet our children later this week,” their mother Sagarika Bhattacharya told The Hindu over telephone from Stavenger in Norway.

She said the last time she was permitted to meet her children was over three months ago.

Three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya were taken away from their parents in May last year. After the intervention of the government of India, the Norwegian authorities agreed to hand over the children to their uncle, Arunabhash Bhattacharya, who has also left for Norway.

“My brother-in-law met my son and told us that Abhigyan is completely traumatised. He was howling and screaming and repeatedly said that he wanted to be brought to me,” Ms. Bhattacharya said.

The children are being kept in separate foster homes. Mr. Arunabhash Bhattacharya has been able to meet both of them, but Ms. Bhattacharya said she did not receive any information about her daughter. The family is apprehensive that the process of the children being retuned to them could take months.

“We fear that the Norwegian Child Welfare Services are holding up the process for returning the children,” she said adding that they had been questioned in detail about their future plans when they come back to India.

Ms. Bhattacharya said allegations about troubled relations between the couple and domestic violence had been trumped up — tactics that they fear will hold up the process further.

“We do not know if these are tactics they have thought up to save their face, but these allegations are all wrong,” she added.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 3:13:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/couple-in-norway-hope-to-meet-children-this-week/article2893587.ece

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