Oslo: A Norway court has given the custody of the two NRI children to their uncle. The two children - Abhigyan and Aishwarya - will reach India on Tuesday morning. Three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya will take a flight out of Oslo to Frankfurt and then to India along with their uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya. The two children will be raised by foster parents in India.
The Norwegian Child Welfare Services said it was in the best interest of the children if they returned to India. The two children have been in the custody of Norway's Child Welfare Services for nearly a year.
"Stavanger District Court has decided in the child welfare case involving two Indian children that the uncle is to take over care of the children. They will leave for India as soon as the necessary arrangements have been made," the Child Welfare Service (CWS), which had put the children in foster care, said.
Giving the custody of Abhigyan and Aishwarya to their uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya, the court has thereby supported the joint application submitted by the children's parents and the CWS at the hearing on Tuesday April 17, it said.
The court issued a ruling granting the application made jointly by the parties which stated that the "grounds for removing the children from the care of their parents were and continue to be present, but that it is no longer necessary for them to stay with a family in Norway as agreement has now been reached that the children are to grow up in the care of their uncle and will not be living with their parents," CWS said.
Expressing thanks to the Indian authorities, Gunnar Toresen, head of the Child Welfare Service in Stavanger, said he was pleased that the parties have reached agreement and described cooperation with the Indian authorities as good.
"On behalf of Stavanger municipality, I would like to thank the Indian authorities and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their help in finding a satisfactory solution to this case. Growing up in the care of their uncle in India is a good, long-term alternative for the children," he said.
An Indian diplomat will also accompany the children to India.
Their parents Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya were locked in a bitter custody row with authorities in Norway after the authorities cited emotional disconnect between the parents and the children while taking custody of Abhigyan and Aishwarya in May 2011.
The case saw a lot of twist and turns with the father first alleging that his wife had psychological problem while Sagarika claimed that she was not being allowed to meet the children and promised to fight for custody under Indian law.
After a bitter fight Anurup and Sagarika agreed to let go of their differences and signed an agreement which allowed Arunabhash to get custody of their two children.
(With additional information from PTI)