Ripples of Sandy’s devastation in the United States are being felt in distant Bengal. The custody battle over one-year-old Indrashis Saha in the US, which was scheduled to be heard in a New Jersey court on Thursday, was put off and will now come up only after two weeks because of the hurricane.
The delay has come as a major setback for the Sahas since the family could eventually arrange for a lawyer of their choice and were prepared to present their case. The storm will now result in an extended separation from their child for the parents of Indrasish.
A resident of New Jersey, Indrasish sustained head injuries when he reportedly fell from his bed on August 9. After the baby was rushed to a state-run hospital, he underwent a surgery. But after he got well, the hospital authorities refused to hand him over to the parents because a child protection organisation had alleged that the parents had failed to take proper care of him.
In 2011, in a similar incident, Norwegian authorities kept two kids in their custody for almost a year before handing them over to their uncle after a prolonged cross-border drama.
At present, Debasish Saha and his wife, Pamela, 25, are allowed to visit their baby once a week for two hours. The baby is in the custody of the US child welfare authorities.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama toured the New Jersey coastline ravaged by superstorm Sandy with its Republican Governor. New Jersey, like New York, has been severely battered by the storm.
“The situation is terrible in New Jersey following the storm. So much so, that the court proceedings were stalled. This makes it a nearly two-month delay for us,” Nirmal Saha, 72, grandfather of Indrasish, told HT.
“The first hearing was on September 7, when we could not provide for a US lawyer. The next date was September 14, when we could manage an ordinary advocate. Now, at last, we have a good American lawyer, but proceedings could not take place,” Saha added.
Nirmal Saha managed to talk to his sonm Debasish, 28, on Thursday morning, when the software professional narrated his plight in New Jersey.