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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

West Bengal: Kids in custody row given to mother

Mohammad Asif, Hindustan Times  Burdwan, January 08, 2013
First Published: 14:16 IST(8/1/2013) | Last Updated: 14:23 IST(8/1/2013)

Eight and a half months after the two Norway kids returned to India under the foster care of their uncle who were given the custody of the beleaguered children, police took away the duo to hand them over to their mother, who was denied custody by the Norwegian court.

Monotosh Chakraborty, the father of Sagarika, the mother of the two children reached the Kulti residence with police and members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Tuesday noon.

Within 5 minutes the police came out with the two children and the team started for the CWC office at Burdwan town, where they were supposed to reach at 2 pm.

Arunubhas Bhattacharya, the uncle of the children who was given their custody by the Norwegian agency was not at home when the police arrived.

“I have come to Calcutta high court. They have taken away the children,” Arunabhas told HT. He appeared quite puzzled over phone and could not tell this correspondent what his next course of action is going to be.

In May 2011, a Norwegian childcare agency had put the children, Abhigyan and Aishwarya, 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 and subsequently a Norwegian court granted Arunabhas the custody of his nephew and niece in April 2012. On April 24, the children returned to their Kulti home where they have been living since.

However, Tuesday’s drama at the Kulti residence was not entirely out of the blue. In June last year, Sagarika tried to obtain custody of her children and even lodged a complaint against her in-laws in Kulti police station on June 1. About an hour later, Arunabhas, a dentist by profession, lodged a counter-complaint against her.

Sagarika alleged in that complaint her in-laws had beaten her up and threw her out of the house. She also claimed they were not taking proper care of her children. On the other hand, Arunabhas complained Sagarika had barged into their house with unknown persons and attempted to snatch the children.

In May, both the grandfathers of the children filed police complaints against each other after Sagarika had gone to the Kulti home to see her two children.

Following that controversy last summer, Arunabhas had told HT he kept the external affairs ministry informed about Sagarika's visits to their house and her attempts to forcibly take away the children.

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