India ready to engage with Norwegian authorities to help NRI couple

New Delhi [India], Dec. 23 : In wake of the allegations made by an Indian couple that the Norwegian authorities have taken away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse, the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said the embassy in Oslo has taken up this issue and added that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is personally monitoring the case.

"The Ministry is fully aware of the issue and our embassy in Oslo is following up the matter. Our Ambassador has already established contact with the father who is a Norwegian citizen as is the child.

The Mother, however, happens to be an Indian passport holder. Following the custody by the Norway child welfare services, legal proceedings are currently underway regarding the continuation of such custody," MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

Swarup said the Indian embassy remains fully prepared to engage with local authorities to impress upon them that this is a humanitarian issue and the separation of a child from his parents is a matter of distress to the entire family.

Swarup said they were informed that the father of the child has hired a Norwegian lawyer to pursue the matter in the court.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi said that Child Welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act and the Act applies to all children in Norway "The Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness Norway Embassy," the authorities said.

Anil Kumar, the father of the five-year-old, said the Child Welfare Department of Norway took custody of his son on December 13 at 9.30 am from his kindergarten school without informing them.

He further said that four policemen took his wife into custody and she was interrogated for three hours.

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on grounds of abuse.

In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway.

The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents. In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad..

Source: ANI