NRI children row: India summons Norway envoy

India Wednesday summoned Norwegian ambassador Ann Ollestad and pushed for an expeditious solution to the custody row involving two NRI children, who who were taken away by Norwegian Child Welfare Services, on grounds of emotional disconnect.

The Norwegian ambassador met Secretary (West) M. Ganapathi, Syed Akbaruddin, the external affairs ministry's spokesperson, told reporters here.

The meeting took place a day after Communist Party of India-Marxist MP and politburo member Brinda Karat met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and sought his government's intervention to enable an early return of two Indian children separated from their parents last year on the grounds of "emotional disconnect".
She had conveyed her concern over a statement attributed to a top Norwegian official that the children will not be sent to India before April.

In this context, official sources said the ministry asked the envoy to expedite the process so as to end the ordeal of the parents and their two separated children.
The three-year-old Abhigyan and the one-year-old Aishwarya, children of Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, an NRI couple living in Stavanger, Norway, were taken under protective care by Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services) in May last year on grounds that they were not looked after properly by their parents.

Barnevarne had placed them in foster parental care as per the directive of the local Norwegian court, mandated under Norwegian laws.

An agreement was struck recently between India and Norway under which the parents named Anurup's brother Arunabhash Bhattacharya as the primary caretaker of the two children. Arunabhash is currently in Norway and is being looked after the Norwegian authorities.

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