Father lifts lid on India-Norway child custody row

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08:41 CET+01:00
The Indian father of two children who were taken into care by Norwegian social services, sparking a diplomatic row with New Delhi, told a newspaper on Tuesday his wife had a "psychological problem".

Anurup Bhattacharya and his wife Sagarika, who live in Norway, previously insisted that their children were taken in May last year because of a cultural bias against Indians and they enlisted the foreign ministry in their battle.

Norwegian officials said that confidentiality prevented them from discussing the case, but they denied reports in the Indian media that the children, aged three and one, had been removed for reasons such as eating with their hands.

"It was not just cultural bias that prompted the CWS (child welfare services) to act. My wife has a serious psychological problem," Anurup, who is now seeking custody of the children, told Tuesday's The Hindu newspaper.

Anurup said he was speaking out after a row with his wife in which she allegedly attacked him, and that he had "concealed the seriousness" of problems within his family. His wife's version of events was not given.

The revelation casts a new light on a case that drew widespread media attention in India, much of it highly critical of the Norwegian authorities, and calls into question the involvement of the Indian foreign ministry.

Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna had demanded that Norway "find an amicable and urgent solution" in returning the children to the family.

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Norwegian social workers have since agreed to place the children with an uncle in India.

A court in the town of Stavanger, where Anurup worked for oil firm Total, must still take the final decision in the case. A provisional date for the hearing has been set for March 23rd.

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