A two and a half year old boy banging his head on the floor whenever he sees his mother is a very disturbing scene, but that is precisely what Abhigyan Bhattacharya used to do, forcing the Norwegian authorities to take him and his sister Aishwarya into their custody.
The boy was so afraid of his mother that he preferred the Norwegian officials, who were complete strangers to him, than his mother.
A tale of extreme parental neglect, especially on the part of the kids' mother Sagarika Bhattacharya, and ignorance of and insensitivity to the needs of the children has unfolded as HT obtained documents from Stavanger Municipality that intervened to rescue the Bhattacharya siblings.
A paragraph on page 4 of the judgment passed by the Stavanger District Court reads: "When the personnel (a employee of the Kvaleberg/Vannassen Kindergarten, Family group) are going to give Abhigyan to his mother, he clings on to the personnel and would not let her go. He makes no sound. The mother takes him, Abhigyan wriggles, becomes "eel-like", and the mother lets him slide down to the floor. There he starts banging his head on the floor." (Incident of March 2, 2011)
"The personnel hold Abhigyan, the mother comes out to take him out to the cloakroom to dress him. Abhigyan turns away from his mother and starts banging his head hard against the personnel's shoulder…The personnel experiences that Abhigyan is frustrated when they are to go home. He cries and bangs his head in the buggy," an excerpt reads.
The court also said that in relation to Aishwarya it is asserted that they are concerned "because it now looks as if Aishwarya prefers others' faces than her mother's" and that she "seeks eye contact and turns her head towards others when both the mother and others are close."
It is clear from court documents that Aishwarya was exposed to dangerous situations and neglect daily.
Though most of the court observations stung the mother, some of the remarks were also directed against father Anurup. The court questioned his priorities and also his abilities as a care-giver to his family, and especially to his children when they were undergoing the a very difficult period in their lives.
The court observed the central factor is that the children are exposed to risk and stress on a daily basis which indicates that there is continuous danger of them being substantially damaged if they are moved back to their home.
"A few times he (Abhigyan) tries to get into contact with her (mother), he is not received by the mother. He then walks and wanders over the apartment without his mother taking any notice of him. The mother scolds a lot and slaps him when she thinks he is doing something wrong," the court observed.
In some situations when the mother is in the kitchen and Abhugyan approaches her "She locks him out so that he stands and cries on the other side of the door until she is finished in the kitchen.
The parents have also been accused of fighting in front of the toddlers. "Among other things an episode is described of the father lying asleep with Abhigyan when the mother came in and hit the father in the face and he started to bleed," it was revealed in the judgment.
The court observed that both the children had been subjected to such great neglect in daily life and that they have been exposed to being substantially damaged - particularly seen in relation to bonding and development.
"For Aishwarya the potential for damage is even greater, the court ruled. It is because even though Abhigyan got the care of his extended family during his early years when they were in Kolkata, Aishwarya was born in Norway and had missed even that care and bonding," the court said.