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Deprived of the children – siblings split

(Below: Link in English). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in India and Norway is taking up the case with the Bhattacharya couple in Stavanger. They appeared in Ny Tid after the Norwegian state deprived them of a 2-year-old son and 5-month-old daughter while she was breastfeeding.

* The state has decided that parents should see their children 3 hours annually until they are 18 years: This year 2026 and 2028. The county board has placed the siblings in two different foster homes. The children should not be allowed to learn the mother tongue from India or meet pending grandparents. (Updated 25.01.).

This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian

(Updated 25.01.2012: NB! published in The Hindu on January 25th 2012.)

New Time January 6, 2012

Difficult. The reactions are now reaching ever higher political levels after Ny Tid on January 6 brought the cover case of the Indian geoscientist Anurup Bhattacharya (34) and his wife Sagarika Chakraborty (29). The two then stood up and told their story, after they were first mentioned in the Indian press before Christmas.

The couple in Stavanger in May 2011 was deprived of their son (now 3 years) and daughter (now 1 years) in May, after the child welfare agency made several charges against them (see further down, as well as press release 21. January from the Child Welfare Service in Stavanger).

Ny Tid has gained access to papers in the case, where it appears from the doctor in February last year that the mother had "temporary postpartum depression", after giving birth to the daughter by caesarean section on December 6, 2010. Immediately after, state family counselors visited, together a handful of times from January 7 to May 11.

The youngest daughter was 5 months old and was fully paralyzed when the Child Welfare Service in an emergency decision then took her and her brother from mother and father.

The two siblings are now housed in two different ethnic Norwegian foster homes. Following a decision in the Rogaland County Council on November 29, according to the plan, they will not be able to reunite with the parents until the children reach the age of 18, in the years 2026 and 2028. Until that time, the two children shall see their parents a maximum of three (3) hours a year. . This is a reduction from 4 hours a year, in relation to the Child Welfare's proposal:

“The Child Welfare Service has suggested that there should be contact between the parents and the children twice a year with two hours each time. The county board has found reason to increase this to three times a year, while at the same time one has set the length of attendance to 1 hour each time, ”the county council decided on November 29.

In a debate on it Indian television broadcast for TimesNow on January 23, the parents say that they have not seen their children in two months, despite the decision of the County Council. For the first few months after the removal, the mother was allowed to deliver bottled breast milk weekly to her daughter.

The case is now appealed to the District Court. The parents' fight against the Norwegian authorities has gained wide coverage and created strong reactions in Indian media. India's President Pratibha Patil has asked India's embassy to take action, as both parents and children are Indian citizens. The parents' visit visa expires in February, and they state that they want to return to India. What happens to the children is unclear.

On January 23, India's Foreign Minister SM Krishna met at the office of colleague Jonas Gahr Støre in Oslo. According to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Støre then Krishna "assured" that Norwegian authorities now "Working hard to find a solution for the best for the children".

"The circumstances of this case cannot justify the extreme step of taking long-term separation of the children and their biological parents," the Indian Foreign Ministry writes (The Indian External Affairs Ministry) in a public announcement January 5.

The Times of India points out that the siblings have now been placed in two different ethnic Norwegian foster families. Mother's father, Monotosh Chakraborty, on Monday, January 9, organized a protest rallywent to the Norwegian Consulate in Calcutta, to bring the children back to the family and possibly to India. Grandparents on both sides of the resourceful family are ready to assist, but are denied by the Norwegian authorities.

Grandfather Chakraborty tells us that he went to Norway this summer and was there for three months to get the children back from the Norwegian state, without success. India's first secretary in Norway, P. Balachandran, has been in Stavanger. He met this week the Child Welfare Service in Stavanger, so far without clarification.

The India conflict comes after a host of international complaints against the Child Welfare Service, both from Poland, Somalia og Russia – where parents have sued the Norwegian authorities for «state kidnapping». The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has in both 2005 and 2010 directed criticism against Norway. In the latest report from 2010, it is “concerned that the number of children being taken out of the home is increasing. The Committee notes that suitable alternatives are not available everywhere, and that the placement of children therefore depends on coincidences… The Committee recommends that the state allocate sufficient resources for the child welfare service to take sufficient preventive measures at home. »

The UN criticism should not have been followed up with concrete means, Ny Tid is informed. But on February 1, a new report, prepared by Professor Magne Raundalen, be submitted to the Ministry of Children and Equality.

His father Anurup Bhattachaia came to Norway in 2006 and works as a senior geoscientist at the US-based company Halliburton in Stavanger. According to the court papers, the mother should come from a resource-rich home. In July, the District Court upheld the Child Welfare Order that the parents were not fit to raise the children in Norway, partly because Dad "chose to take both language courses (Norwegian) and driver's license at the same time" as the family received a home visit from the child welfare service.

The child welfare service has directed a number of accusations against the couple for lack of child rearing, following a report of concern from the day care center to the child welfare service. The head of child welfare in Stavanger municipality, Gunnar Toresen, does not want to comment on either this or last week's article in Ny Tid. But in a text message to Ny Tid on Tuesday night, the child welfare director writes the following:

"I have read the article in Ny Tid. I see no reason to comment on individual cases in the media. I assume that the family will be able to provide access to the county board's clear ruling in the care takeover case. This is a question that is relevant in in relation to the angle that Ny Tid has chosen: Should the Child Welfare Act apply to everyone living in Norway, or not. »

FACTSIMILE: deccanherald.com

The county board's conclusion must be made without the mother's and father's caring ability being investigated. The papers should then not be translated into English or into a language the mother understands. When asked to comment on specific allegations from a lawyer and family, Thoresen replies:

"I disagree with the description of the reality, but do not want to go into a newspaper polemic about the case, then it becomes impossible to know where the limit should go. Some key court documents have been translated in writing. More are coming. ”


The two children of five months and three years were placed in emergency homes on May 12 last year, having been under observation at some home visits since earlier this year. Since then, there has been great disagreement about the children's future. The parents appealed the case on May 16, 2011 to the County Board for Child Welfare and Social Affairs in Rogaland, and then accepted that the child welfare service had misunderstood the situation, and the decision was declared invalid. The child welfare service received strong criticism:

"The municipality has stated that there is a danger that the child may fall from the changing table and injure himself. During the case it was clarified that the parents do not have changing tables at home. The child is cared for on a bed / device much lower than one ordinary changing table… So far there have been no accidents when caring for the child…. The most important and crucial thing is: There was no emergency situation prior to the child welfare service's visit to the home. The problems arose after the representatives from the child welfare service had come to the home. Mother was frightened when she realized that the child welfare service could place the children outside the home. It was a difficult situation, but the problems of the situation should have been solved in a different and more thoughtful way than deciding that the children should be sent to emergency homes. "

And on May 23, the following was concluded in the County Council:

"The tribunal has consequently come to the conclusion that the conditions of the law for emergency decisions were not met when the decision was made. The conditions for maintaining the decision are also not met… In the short term, there is reason to believe that conditions in the home will change as the mother's parents come to Norway to help the daughter. The decision to place [the children] outside the home is revoked. "

But when the Child Welfare Appeal appealed to Stavanger District Court, the case took another turn. Here it was decided that both children should be taken out of the home, and that the contact with the parents should be set for two hours, twice a year. It was also pointed out here that the grandparents' stay in the country, which was highlighted by the county board as particularly positive for the family, was limited in time and thus would not have anything to say about the children's situation in the longer term. The situation was described in the judgment as "constant and acute".

President of India

When the case again came to the County Council on November 29, 2011, grandparents were present on both the mother's and father's side during the trial. Despite repeated attempts, neither they, nor Indian authorities, have succeeded in taking care of the two children.

The case is expected to appear in Stavanger District Court during the winter or spring.

- The District Court proposes a more thorough elucidation of the case before the decision is to be taken in court. Among other things, the family has asked for a psychologist to evaluate the parents, says a lawyer Svendsen to Stavanger Aftenblad.

At the request of the President of India, Pratibha Patil, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs intervened in the matter before the New Year, and asked that the children be allowed to return to India. According to the lawyer, the child welfare service in Stavanger has so far not wanted to leave the care of the children to the extended family in India. He believes it may be relevant for the Norwegian authorities to get custody of the children, to give them residence in Norway on humanitarian grounds.

There should be no talk of any alcohol or drug abuse in the home. Nor should there be documented violence. Neither the mother nor the children initially speak Norwegian, but have Bengali as their mother tongue. According to Ny Tid, information and information before deprivation shall not be given in a language other than Norwegian to the parents, not even English.

Information is missing

Children's Ombudsman Reidar Hjermann will not comment on the matter in particular, but says that there must generally be very serious reasons why children can be removed from the home.

- It can be a consequence of serious neglect, violence, or domestic abuse. Before such a decision is made, relief measures must be initiated by the child welfare service, and a collaboration must be established between the child welfare service and the family. If these measures are not working, a solution may be to take children out of the home, but even after this is done, there should be close communication between the child's parents and the child welfare.


- The Ombudsman for Children finds that important information given orally in child welfare cases is not always written down. This is important so that parents and others get an understanding of what is the basis for the decision, says Hjermann. ■

(This is an excerpt from Ny Tid's weekly magazine 13.01.2012, and updated online afterwards. Read the whole thing by buying Ny Tid in newspaper retailers all over the country, or by subscribing to Ny Tid - click here. Subscribers receive previous editions free of charge as PDF.)

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Carima Tirillsdottir Heinesen
Former journalist for MODERN TIMES.

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