Child rights

Norway child custody case: Sushma Swaraj says the boy should be restored to his parents

The External Affairs Minister said the foster parents are totally ignorant of the Indian culture.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said the government wants the couple in Norway to be reunited with their five-year-old son who was allegedly taken away forcibly by the Norwegian child welfare agency. Swaraj said the Indian Ambassador in Norway would meet the country’s authorities on Tuesday regarding five-year-old Aryan.

“I refuse to accept that foster parents can take better care of the child than the natural parents. The foster parents are totally ignorant of the Indian culture and our food habits,” she said in a series of tweets. “We want the restoration of Aryan to his natural parents. This is our firm stand and the Indian Ambassador will convey this to the Norwegian authorities,” she added.

The boy’s father is a Norwegian national. The child’s mother, Gurvinderjit Kaur, had written to the Indian government saying the Norwegian child protection authorities took custody of their son on December 13 based on a frivolous allegation.

On December 23, the spokesperson of the Embassy of Norway had said Norwegian Child Welfare Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status of citizenship. “The Embassy requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness,” said the spokesperson.

In 2011, two toddlers were taken into the Norwegian government’s custody under similar circumstances. In 2012, a Norwegian court had convicted an Indian couple in a child abuse case with a prison term and had sent the children to their grandparents’ home in Hyderabad.

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