External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday sought a report from the Indian envoy in Norway over the separation of a five-year-old child from his NRI parents.
The Indian Express had reported that Norwegian authorities had taken away the boy after his parents had allegedly beaten him. “I have asked Indian Ambassador in Norway to send me a report,” Swaraj tweeted, tagging The Indian Express report.
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Officials said that Indian diplomats in Oslo had spoken to the boy’s father, Anil Kumar Sharma, and offered support. Sharma, a former vice president of the Overseas Friends of the BJP in Norway, has informed the mission that he has hired a lawyer to contest the custody.
Sharma told The Indian Express from Oslo that Norway’s Child Welfare Department took the boy in custody from his kindergarten without prior information on December 13. Four policemen took Sharma’s wife, Gurvinderjit Kaur, into custody half-an-hour later and interrogated her for over an hour. Sharma, who owns an Indian restaurant, said that the boy has been sent to a children’s welfare home in Hamar, about 150 km from Oslo.
Sharma, who migrated from Punjab about 26 years ago, said that authorities had spoken to their child for about one-and-a-half hours. The couple met their son at the home on Monday. “He was wearing the same clothes and undergarments in which he had gone to school a week ago. He is not receiving proper care from the child welfare department. He hugged us and cried a lot. He is our only child. Why would we torture him?”
Kaur had contacted BJP leaders in Delhi, seeking the government’s intervention. BJP leader Vijay Jolly met Norwegian embassy officials in Delhi and raised the issue besides writing to Indian ambassador Debraj Pradhan in Oslo expressing concern over the boy’s “forcible custody”. Jolly said that he got a call from a senior official saying that help will be given to the couple.
A Norwegian Embassy spokesperson said that the mission came to know about the case on Wednesday. “We have asked relevant authorities in Norway to provide us with further information, and are awaiting their response.”
Norwegian authorities have taken custody of three Indian-origin kids citing abuse since 2011.