New Delhi: NRI couple Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya's children, who are in the custody of Norway's Child Welfare Services, would be handed over to Anurup's brother Arunabash Bhattacharya. The lawyer of the couple told the Indian Embassy in Oslo that Arunabash would take custody of the children. He would travel to Norway when the custody case came up for hearing in the court.
Arunabash said that he had not spoken to his brother about the custody case but was willing to take care of the two children – three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya.
"I have not received any confirmation. My name has been recommended by the authorities in Norway for the custody of the children. I have not had a chat with my brother yet on the issue. I don't have exact details. My family and I are very open to the matter of taking custody of the children. We will be giving an undertaking to the Norway court," he said.
The parents would have visitation rights without restrictions and the the Indian government would monitor their progress. An agreement would be signed between Norway's Child Welfare Services and the family on Wednesday. The Norwegian court would approve of the arrangement and both the children could be back in a matter of weeks.
Once the children are under their uncle's custody and come back to India, there would be no problem if the parents came back and met or stayed with their children.
"We hope the children would be able to come to India soon, as soon as we manage to get the signatures that are required. This agreement between the parents and the child support services has been an out of court settlement but it would need the formal approval of the court," said the couple's lawyer Svein Kjetil Lode Svendsen.
Sagarika expressed her happiness about the developments and hoped that the ordeal would be over soon.
"I am extremely happy that they will give the custody to my brother-in-law. He is like a family. We are fine that a person from the family will come here and take the custody of the children. Both the children are in the same foster family now. May be we will get the children as soon as possible. Indian Embassy met the children a few weeks back. They told us that they are fine," said Sagarika.
Reports say that the custody agreement would be signed between the family and Norway's Child Welfare Services soon. But the Indian government would not be a party to the agreement.
Sagarika also claimed that neither the Indian nor the Norwegian governments made any attempts to contact them to help them get the custody of their two children, who have been placed in an emergency shelter by Norway's Child Welfare Services.
"Nobody from the Indian government or the Norway government has contacted us yet. We are getting to know from the media reports that there is a breakthrough," she said.
Sagarika's father Monotosh Chakrobarty said that the process of handing over of the children was going on and the entire process would take seven days.
The Ministry of External Affairs sources said that the custody of the children depended on the Norwegian court and added that Norway wanted to ensure a soft transition.
Meanwhile, Norway's Child Welfare Services defended its decision to take the children away from their parents. Denying any cultural prejudice, it said the parents were guilty of serious neglect.