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NRI Kid Taken into Custody by Norway Officials, Sushma Swaraj Steps in

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. (PTI)

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. (PTI)

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has stepped in to help an NRI family in Norway. The five-year-old son of Anil Kumar was taken into custody by the Norwegian Child Welfare Department on the 13th of December from his kindergarten school in Oslo.

Parikshit Luthra

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has stepped in to help an NRI family in Norway. The five-year-old son of Anil Kumar was taken into custody by the Norwegian Child Welfare Department on the 13th of December from his kindergarten school in Oslo.

Anil Kumar told The Indian Express that the Child Welfare Department was acting on a complaint that Kumar and his wife had beaten-up their son. The foreign minister, who is in the hospital recovering after undergoing a kidney transplant, has asked for a report on the case.

Kumar is a Norwegian citizen and his wife holds an Indian passport. They have appealed to the Indian government for help alleging that their son was taken away without any evidence and is suffering at a children's home under the custody of child welfare department.

The Indian embassy in Norway confirmed to CNN-News18 that Indian Ambassador Debraj Pradhan has already spoken to the child’s father. Sources said: “Anil Kumar has hired a lawyer to defend his family in court and the ambassador will be meeting him again.”

When asked whether the matter will be taken up diplomatically a source said, “Let’s wait for the court process to get over”. Another official said, “In all such cases, where an India national is involved, we take up the matter with concerned officials of the country via diplomatic channels."

Norway’s child welfare department was tight-lipped on the exact facts of the case. When CNN-News18 emailed them to ascertain the status of the case and the charges against the parents they responded saying, “The Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion is responsible for the general child welfare policy. However, the government does not have the authority to comment on or intervene in individual cases”.

It is still not clear when the child would be returned to his parents. Government sources have indicated that the legal processes may take time.

A similar case in 2011 had drawn a lot of attention. Two children were taken away from their NRI parents and kept in protective custody for 12 months. They were returned after a long legal battle. The Indian government had put significant pressure on Norwegian authorities and the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also taken up the matter with his counterpart.


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