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S.M. Krishna asked to help NRI couple get back child

Kolkata, Sep 10, 2012, (IANS) : 19:52 IST
The West Bengal Congress unit has requested External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to take steps to ensure that a US-based couple's child is returned to them at the earliest.

US authorities took the one-year-old boy under their care after he suffered head injuries. The parents have limited access to him.

Debasish Saha, 28, an engineer based in New Jersey, said his son Indrasish fell from bed Aug 9 and hurt his head.

Debashish, whose father Nirmal Saha lives in Balurghat in West Bengal's South Dinajpur district, shifted to New Jersey July 22.

US authorities have restricted Saha and his wife's access to their son.

Congress general secretary Ompraksh Mishra wrote to Krishna: "West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee requests you to kindly take all the necessary steps whereby the child is returned to his parents at the earliest. The issue has become a matter of national concern and a subject of sentiment and family values."

The matter came up before a New Jersey court Friday and it asked Saha to appear with a lawyer Sep 14. The court has asked Debashish to suggest names of relatives who could be given the custody of the child.

Apprehending that the child would be taken away from them and handed over to foster care, Debashish said: "Now, we are being allowed to meet the child for two hours every week, in the presence of a representative of a child protection team."

The engineer also said it would be difficult for him to bear the huge cost of hiring a lawyer.

"The Saha family is financially not in a position to acquire legal help. I met the grandparents of the child at their Balurghat residence. They are most distraught and inconsolable given the uncertainty regarding the custody of the infant," the letter stated.

In his letter, Mishra stated that the people of Balurghat expect the union government to take necessary steps through diplomatic channels and reflect the point of the parents before the court of law that the accident was not a case of wilful negligence.

In a similar case this May, two non-resident Indian children were kept in foster care in Norway for nearly a year after they were separated from their parents on grounds of alleged negligence.

After the Indian media highlighted the issue, the Indian government put in all diplomatic efforts to ensure that the siblings returned to India.

The custody of the siblings -- three-year-old Abhyigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya -- was given to their uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya by a Norwegian court in the city of Stavanger in April, following which the Indian government facilitated their return to India.

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