Hours after the police took away the two children involved in a custody row in Norway from their uncle and handed them over to their mother, the Calcutta high court on Tuesday ordered the police to return them to their uncle and submit a compliance report on January 9.
The children were handed over to their uncle by a Norwegian court in April 2012 following charges in the Scandinavian country that their parents were not taking proper care of them.
Justice Dipankar Datta passed the directive after advocates for children's uncle Arunabhas Bhattacharya told the court that during pendency of the petition filed by the children's mother Sagarika Bhattacharya the police forcibly took away the children from his custody and return them to her. Sagarika currently lives with her parents near Kolkata while her husband Anurup lives in Norway.
The children, Abhigyan and Aishwarya are now aged 4 and 2.
In May 2011, the Norwegian childcare agency had put the children under foster care after it found parental care lacking for them at home. A bitter custody battle ensued. The family drama straddling the two continents reached such heights that foreign minister SM Krishna had to intervene. Subsequently a Norwegian court granted Arunabhas Bhattacharya, a dental surgeon in Kulti town of Burdwan district, custody of his nephew and niece in April 2012. The children have been living with him since April 24.
A few months ago, Sagarika lodged a complaint with the Child Welfare Committee at Burdwan, complaining that her children were not properly taken care of by Arunabhas and sought their restoration to her.
The committee on November 8, 2012, ordered their restoration to Sagarika and directed the Asansol police commissioner to comply with its order. But the police allegedly took no action.
The rest of the drama unfolded on Tuesday, tossing the little children from one pair of hands to another.