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Child taken away from Indian parents in UK on charges of 'abuse'

April 08, 2013 12:03 IST

An Indian couple from Oxford is fighting to regain custody of its five-year-old son after he was taken away by social services over allegations of abuse.

"They simply don't understand the difference between Indian and British culture. Their style of upbringing is totally different from our culture," claimed the child’s father Rajat Puri, who has been suspected by the authorities of "improper behaviour” towards his son Achintya.

"Our child is in a bad state. He has been crying and begging to be sent back home because he is scared of being shut up in a dark room every night," added his mother Shruti Beri, who insists the case has been misinterpreted by the Oxfordshire County Council.

Achintya's teachers at Bayards Hill Primary School in Oxford called in police and social services in March after he reportedly described his father as doing "bad things".

They feared it may be a reference to some kind of abuse.

Beri claimed that it was a reference to her husband's social drinking and smoking, which she had often described as a 'bad habit' in an attempt to put her son off copying similar behaviour.

Puri, who works in an investment firm, and his software programmer wife have been fighting for the return of their child since March 6.

They have even written letters to British Prime Minister David Cameron and their local member of parliament.

Meanwhile, an emergency protection order passed by the local family court allowed the parents to see their son three times a week, for up to an hour.

The couple, originally from Punjab, moved to the United Kingdom in 2009 after living in South Africa for five years.

Under child protection rules in the UK, a local council can start "care proceedings" if it is concerned about the welfare of a child.

The council can take the child into care on a temporary basis for up to eight weeks at first, which can be renewed every 28 days. If the case goes to court, it can take up to a year, or even longer, for a decision on what should happen to the child.

Aditi Khanna
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