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Norway custody row: Police to present compliance report

Jan 09, 2013 10:50 AM IST India India

Asansol: Asansol Police is set to present a compliance report before the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday on the status of handing over the custody of the children, who are caught between a legal and diplomatic fight with Norway since 2011, to their uncle.

On Tuesday, the Child Welfare Committee unit of Burdwan, assisted by the police, gave the custody of the children to their mother Sagarika Bhattacharya, months after they were brought back from Norway. "Today CWC authorities came along with police and Sagarika and took the children away from us. The children were crying yet they took them away," Ajay Bhattacharya, paternal grandfather of the children said.

However, in another twist, hours later, the Calcutta High Court ordered that the children be returned to their uncle as Sagarika's plea for speedy implementation of the CWC order is still being heard by the court. The children will now stay with their uncle till the case is over.

"Today CWC team came to us with an order asking our assistance. Our role was just to assist the CWC so that there is no law and order," Subroto Ganguly, ADCP, Asansol said.

The children were caught in a custody battle over one year which snowballed into a diplomatic row between India and Norway. The children had been placed under the care of the Norwegian authorities. The child panel, responding to a petition filed by Sagarika, had said that the interests of the children are well preserved with their mother. Sagarika also had to undergo medical tests in Mumbai to prove that she was mentally sound.

However, the children's paternal uncle, Arunabash Bhattacharya, who was given the custody of the children by Norway, had claimed that it was an agreement between the two countries that he should get the custody and that the CWC cannot intervene in what he says is an 'international treaty'.

Earlier, in May 2012, Sagarika claimed that she was beaten by her husband Anurup Bhattacharya, thrown out of their house and tortured in Norway. Sagarika had claimed that she was not allowed to meet the children and was also allegedly threatened by Anurup's family members and local 'goons' when she went to see her children.

Sagarika's family had lodged a complaint at the local police station, to which Anurup's family filed a counter-complaint alleging that she came to kidnap the children. The two children had returned to India in April after the Norway court ruled in favour of their uncle getting their custody after the parents agreed to the arrangement.