After nearly a year in foster care in Norway, two NRI toddlers, separated from their parents on grounds of negligence, arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday to an emotional welcome.
The children — Abhigyan, 3, and Aishwarya, 1 — escorted by uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya and their Norwegian foster father were received at the Indira Gandhi International airport by their paternal grandparents, relatives and minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur.
Their return home came after sustained diplomatic pressure mounted by the government and a protracted legal battle which ended on Monday when a Norwegian court in the city of Stavanger handed over their custody to Arunabhas.
The children were taken away from their parents —Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya — by Norway’s Child Welfare Services in May last year on the grounds of "emotional disconnect" and negligence.However, the parents of the children denied the charges, saying it was a case of cultural misunderstanding.
Welcoming the return of the children, external affairs minister SM Krishna thanked Norway for their release, saying the children "belonged to India".
"They are Indian nationals. I am confident that the uncle will take care of them in the environment of their extended family in India," he said.
"I thank the government of Norway and in particular the foreign minister for his constructive approach in resolving this humanitarian issue. I wish to congratulate the judicial system in Norway for taking such an enlightened decision. All is well that ends well," Krishna said.
Reacting to the arrival of the kids, a spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs said the case has drawn to a close for the ministry.