Norway row over child: India ready to help if approached

New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) If approached, India is ready to help the NRI parents of a five-year-old child who has been separated from them by Norwegian authorities who accused them of beating him, a senior official said here on Friday.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup in his weekly media briefing here said that the government was aware of the issue and the Indian embassy in Oslo was following up the matter.

“Given the seriousness of the issue, should we receive a formal representation from the mother, who is an Indian national, our embassy remains fully prepared to engage with local authorities to impress upon them that this is a humanitarian issue and that the separation of a child from his parents is a matter of distress to the entire family,” Swarup said.

According to reports, the child was taken from his kindergarten school on December 13 without the parents being informed and is being kept at a children’s welfare home some 150 km away from Oslo.

His mother, Gurvinderjit Kaur was also taken into custody and was subjected to interrogation.

The child’s father, Anil Kumar, who runs an Indian restaurant, has denied all the allegations and said that his son was asthmatic.

While the father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian passport-holder.

Swarup said that the Indian Ambassador to Norway has already established contact with the father.

“Following the custody of the child by Norway’s Child Welfare Services (CWS), legal proceedings are currently underway regarding the continuation of such custody,” he stated.

“We are informed that the father has engaged a Norwegian lawyer to pursue the matter in the court.”

Earlier on Friday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stated that she has received the report on the case from the Indian Ambassador and the government would help the mother if approached.

“I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national,” she tweeted.

This is the third such case in Norway involving Indian children.

In 2011, a three-year-old and and a one-year-old were separated from their parents but were later reunited when the UPA government took up the issue with Norwegian authorities.

In another case of alleged child abuse in December 2012, a seven-year-old and a two-year-old were separated from their parents. The mother got a 15-month prison term and the father was jailed for 18 months.

The two children were sent to the custody of their grandparents in Hyderabad.

–IANS

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