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INTEGRATION

Indian couple in Norway for abusing son

A Norwegian court said on Tuesday it has sentenced an Indian couple to prison for physically abusing their then six-year-old son in a case that has drawn widespread attention in India.

The couple, who were living in Norway for professional reasons at the time, were found guilty of burning their son, today aged seven, with a hot spoon and the father was also found guilty of lashing him several times with a belt. The father and mother were sentenced to prison for 18 and 15 months respectively. 

The Oslo district court refused to disclose their names, but Indian media have identified the parents as Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni, a computer engineer, and his wife Anupama.

Social services were alerted after the boy refused to get off a school bus in March after wetting himself. He said he was afraid his parents would "burn my tongue", as they had threatened to do on previous occasions. Police then opened an inquiry that uncovered the abuse.

The boy said he was deliberately burned with a hot spoon on his leg in January, causing a three-by-five centimetre (one-by-two inch) scar. His parents claimed it was an accident. The child also told judges his father had hit him on the back with a belt on several occasions, which the father denied.

The sentence was in line with the prosecution's request. According to Norwegian media reports, the parents plan to appeal the sentence. The boy and his younger brother currently live with their grandparents in India.

The case made headlines in India, where a number of media outlets had incorrectly claimed the parents risked prison in Norway for threatening to send the boy back to India if his incontinence continued. It followed another highly-publicised case that saw Norwegian social services remove two young Indian children from their parents' custody due to shortcomings in their care.

The family blamed it on cultural differences toward childcare, and the case escalated into a diplomatic row with the intervention of Indian government officials. The children were finally handed over to their uncle in India and Indian social services have since ruled that they should be returned to the mother's custody.

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INDIA

India ejects Norwegian ‘for protesting’ against citizenship law

A Norwegian tourist on Friday said authorities had ordered her to leave India after taking part in protests against a new citizenship law, becoming the second European to be ejected over the demonstrations.

India ejects Norwegian 'for protesting' against citizenship law
People protest against the Indian government's Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Kolkata on December 12th. Photo: AFP

Janne-Mette Johansson, 71, told AFP that police gave her “verbal assurances” that she could take part in peaceful demonstrations against the law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims.

“Yesterday (Thursday), Indian immigration officials came to my hotel for questioning and I was mentally tortured. Today, they again showed up at my hotel asking me to leave the country or they will take a legal action and deport me,” she said.

The woman, who had posted photos from the demonstration in the southern state of Kerala on Facebook, added that she would leave India for Dubai on Friday evening and then fly to Sweden.

European visitors to India require visas and the Press Trust of India news agency quoted an official from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office as saying that Johansson “violated visa norms”.

Earlier this week a German studying physics in the southern Indian city of Chennai was also asked to leave after taking part in a protest and comparing the law to anti-Jewish Nazi legislation, PTI reported.

Photos on social media purportedly of the student, named as Jakob Lindenthal, showed him carrying a placard saying “1933-1945 We have been there”.

“After the Nazi era, many people claimed not to have known anything about genocides or atrocities or stated that they were only passive,” Lindenthal told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

“Therefore I see it as a duty to learn from these lessons and not only watch when things happen that one believes to be the stepping stones to a possibly very dangerous development.”

Indian authorities have not commented on his case.

The protests, which have raged for two weeks and left at least 27 people dead, were set to continue on Friday with mobile internet snapped in places and riot police deployed.

The government says that the law easing citizenship rules for religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan excludes Muslims because they face no persecution in those countries.

But coupled with a mooted citizens register, it has stoked fears including in Washington and the UN rights office about the marginalisation of Muslims who make up 14 percent of India's 1.3 billion people.

READ ALSO: Norway wealth fund drops Indian group over environment concerns

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