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Jan 10, 2013 at 07:29am IST

Norway child custody row: Return children to uncle by noon, orders Calcutta High Court

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court has ordered the NRI children, who are caught between a legal and diplomatic fight with Norway since 2011, be returned back to their uncle by noon Wednesday after a government council said the police tried to find the children and their mother, Sagarika Bhattacharya, but failed. The court had, on Tuesday, ordered that the children should be returned back to their uncle, just hours after the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) unit of Burdwan, assisted by the police, gave their custody to their mother Sagarika Bhattacharya.

However, on Wednesday, CWC's lawyer claimed that Sagarika was advised not to proceed with the matter till the case is in the court. Sagarika's advocate has assured that the children will be returned to their uncle by Wednesday, 11:30 am.

The children are caught in a custody battle for over one year which had snowballed into a diplomatic row between India and Norway. The children had been placed under the care of the Norwegian authorities. The child panel, responding to a petition filed by Sagarika, had said that the interests of the children are well preserved with their mother. Sagarika also had to undergo medical tests in Mumbai to prove that she was mentally sound.

However, the children's paternal uncle, Arunabash Bhattacharya, who was given the custody of the children by Norway, had claimed that it was an agreement between the two countries that he should get the custody and that the CWC cannot intervene in what he says is an 'international treaty'.

Earlier, in May 2012, Sagarika claimed that she was beaten by her husband Anurup Bhattacharya, thrown out of their house and tortured in Norway. Sagarika had claimed that she was not allowed to meet the children and was also allegedly threatened by Anurup's family members and local 'goons' when she went to see her children.

Sagarika's family had lodged a complaint at the local police station, to which Anurup's family filed a counter-complaint alleging that she came to kidnap the children. The two children had returned to India in April after the Norway court ruled in favour of their uncle getting their custody after the parents agreed to the arrangement.

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