New Delhi: The counsel for the Norway NRI couple fighting for its children's custody has said that it may take another six weeks before Norway decides to send the children with their uncle to India. "Next hearing is on March 23," said Sven Svendson, the couple's lawyer. "We will get the decision from court. Hopefully, the children will be able to return to India after the court hearing."
He added, "Agency officials are talking to the brother, to know if he is committed to taking care of children. The agency is also figuring out if there will be necessary medical follow up once they are back in India."
Meanwhile, the children's father, Anurup Bhattacharya, said that the child welfare agency of Norway still didn't think they were good parents. "The agency still believes we are bad parents," he said. "We are still not in contact with our children. The agency is evaluating my brother's ability to handle the children. We are always kept out of the loop," he said.
He added that agency officials were applying for his children's visa that expire on March 8. "Lawyers have told me that it will take around 6 weeks," the distraught father said.
India on Monday sent a special envoy to Oslo to discuss the custody row. Madhusudhan Ganpathi reached the capital city early in the morning to discuss the issue with the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Store.
Meanwhile, the grandparents of the children protested outside the Norwegian Embassy in Delhi, demanding the release of the children. Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj and Left leader Brinda Karat also joined the protest.
Reacting to the episode, Sushma said, "What kind of law is this? In India, we call it kidnapping. The government needs to be serious in solving this problem."
However, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat hailed the move of the Indian government to send a special envoy to Norway.
She said, "Why is Norway acting as a law in itself? Even the UN has criticised this move. Sending an envoy is a positive step in creating pressure."
One-year-old Aishwarya and three-year-old Abhigyan were taken away by the child welfare officials in Norway in May last year and placed in foster care.
The kids' parents, NRI couple Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya, were accused of negligence by the child welfare officials.
India has been exerting pressure on Norway to find an amicable solution to the problem maintaining.
India had said that it would make "all out" efforts to ensure early return of the two Indian children from Norway following attempts by authorities of that country to keep them in foster care after expiry of their visa next month.
"We will make all out efforts to achieve the goal of getting back the children to India where they belong," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had said recently.
The government had slammed attempts by Norwegian authorities to keep the children there after expiry of their visa, saying the kids were neither "orphans nor stateless persons", and enjoyed "protection" of the Indian State.
"... the children are neither orphans nor Stateless persons, and enjoy the protection of the Indian State and any request for extension of Residence Permit on their behalf should emanate from either the parents or the Indian State," officials had said.
Norwegian childcare authorities had recently agreed to hand over the custody of the children to their Kolkata-based uncle, who is currently in Oslo.