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Two NRI children held by Norway return to India

April 24, 2012 10:27 IST

Two children of a Non-Resident Indian couple in Norway, who had been taken away by the country's Child Welfare Service last year and kept in foster care, on Tuesday returned to India.

After months of custody row that saw India stepping up diplomatic pressure on Norway to send back the children, a Norwegian court on Monday had handed over the custody of the two children to their paternal uncle.

The court gave the custody of Abhigyan, 3, and Aishwarya, 1, to their uncle Arunabhash Bhattacharya, after submission of an agreement signed by the Service, the children's parents and uncle stating that the conditions for their care have been met.

Abhigyan and Aishwarya were taken away from their parents -- Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya -- by CWS in May last year on grounds of "emotional disconnect".

Reacting to the court verdict, the children's father Anurup said, "It is a big relief. I can't say how relieved I am after one year of trauma and tension. This is the day I have been waiting for."

He said he has been told not to go back to India with the children and hence will stay back in Norway for some time.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna thanked Norway for letting the children return to India, stating that he was "delighted" by the news.

The two children were accompanied by Norwegian officials on their journey back to India.

Minister of State for External Affairs Praneet Kaur was present at the Delhi airport to welcome the children.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken up the matter with his Norwegian counterpart during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in March.