Distraught parents of two Indian-origin children held in Norway under protective care on Friday had an emotional re-union with their kids and hoped that the family's suffering will end soon, months after the issue triggered a diplomatic row.
Non-resident Indian couple, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, met their children Abhigyan, 3 and Aishwarya, 1, for two hours after a gap of three months at the foster home in Stavanger under close observation of child welfare authorities.
The meeting took place in the presence of the kids' uncle Arunabhash, a social services representative and a member of the foster family temporarily caring for the children.
"Our children were very happy to see us. The meet was really good. Abhigyan hugged me tight. The hug I was missing for the last three months," a visibly happy Anurup said.
He said the family had made some Indian food for their children which they liked.
"We also played a lot with them," he said. An emotional Sagarika said they wanted their children back as soon as possible and get them back to India.
"I just want that Abhigyan and Aishwarya should be in the custody of their family now and they will be back soon in India. We are praying to god that we get our children back as soon as possible," she said.
The children were taken under protective care in May last year by Barnevarne, the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, on the ground of "emotional disconnect" with the parents, and placed them in foster parental care according to a local Norwegian court's directive.
Earlier in the day, Barnevarne said that they will take a decision by early March on whether the custody of the two children can be awarded to their uncle after which an arrangement will be put in place to take care of their needs back home.
The Child Welfare Service in Stavanger said the two children from West Bengal are developing well and that their parents "have the opportunity" to spend time in accordance with the decision of the county board for child and social welfare.
"The Child Welfare Service aims to evaluate whether care of the two Indian children who have been placed in a Norwegian foster home can be awarded to the brother of the children's father," Gunnar Toresen, head of the Child Welfare Service, said in a statement.
As India stepped up pressure on Norway to find an "amicable and urgent" solution to the case, an agreement was given to Barnevarne by the parents and their lawyer saying that the kids' uncle Arunabhash has agreed to be the prime caregiver to the children.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had spoken to his Norwegian counterpart regarding the case last month.