Officials head to Norway for kids custody hearing

New Delhi: Ahead of the hearing on the custody row involving two NRI children in Norway, two senior Indian officials are leaving for the country.

The two MEA officials are heading to Norway on the directions of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and will be attending the custody hearing on March 23 in Stavanger, official sources said here.

NRI couple Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya`s children Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) were taken away last year by Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services), which claimed emotional disconnect with the parents, and placed them in foster parental care.

India had last month summoned Norwegian Ambassador Ann Ollestad seeking expeditious solution to the custody row. The ministry had asked the envoy as to why the process of bringing the children together with their family was taking time.

Under an agreement arrived at last month following an eight month-long custody row, Abhigyan and his sister Aishwarya will be given to their uncle, Arunabhash Bhattacharya so that they could return to India and be brought up in an extended family.

The agreement was firmed up by the Indian government through its mission in Norway with the Municipality of Norway, Norwegian Childcare Services, the parents and their lawyer. A final decision on the agreement will be taken on Friday.