In a grim reminder of the Norwegian case earlier this year, a one-year old baby of a Bengali couple was allegedly taken into custody by the child welfare services in New Jersey, US, after it reportedly fell from bed on August 9 and sustained head injuries.
Indrashish was rushed to a state-owned hospital where he underwent a surgery. But after he got well, the hospital authorities refused to hand him over to the parents as the child protection organisation alleged the parents had failed to take proper care of him.
On Monday, Debashish Saha, the father of Indrashish, sought Indian government’s help to fight the legal battle and to send his son back to India, while external affairs minister SM Krishna sought a report from the Indian mission.
The parents of Debashish and his wife Pamela, meanwhile, petitioned the President, Prime Minister and the West Bengal chief minister to help restore the child to his parents, even as local leaders joined in. The grandparents told HT they were ready to take custody of their grandson.
“I appeal to the government to provide a lawyer for my son as he cannot afford one. The next hearing is on September 14,” said Debashish’s father Nirmal Saha, who is a resident of Balurghat in South Dinajpur.
The grandparents alleged the US authorities were mishandling the baby, who is in their custody since September 6.
“We have heard the baby is continuously crying. He is being fed cold milk. When my son questioned them, they said the baby will stop crying on its own and feed when he is hungry,” said Nirmal. In 2011, the Norwegian authorities kept a four-month old and a three-year old for almost a year before handing them over to their uncle after a prolonged cross-border drama.
(with agency inputs)