December 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A work assignment in Norway turned into a nightmare for an Indian couple after government authorities took custody of their child following statements by the boy made to teachers indicating that he had been scolded for wetting his pants, according to reports in the Indian media.

Although their child was returned a month later, the couple is now under arrest by Norweigan authorities following a return visit to Norway. According to a police statement reported by NDTV, the couple “have been charged with gross or repeated maltreatment of their child/children by threats, violence or other wrong, under section 219, first paragraph, of the Penal Code.”

“The prosecution proposed a sentence of one year and three months for the mother, and one year and six months for the father,” said the statement.

Chandrasekhar and Anupama Vallabhaneni were living temporarily in Oslo on assignment for software giant TCS when their son Sai Sriram, 7, was taken from them earlier this year.  The boy reportedly was scolded by his parents and threatened with being returned to India after he urinated on himself during a school bus ride and stole toys from the school he was attending.

After telling school officials about the scolding, Sai Siriam was removed from his parents’ custody for a month and submitted to various tests.  After concluding that he suffered from mild hyperactivity, child welfare authorities returned him to his parents. The family subsequently returned to India.

But according to Indian media sources, Chandrasekhar and Anupama Vallabhaneni returned to Norway in October of this year, this time without their children, and Chandrasekhar received a summons to appear in a court hearing related to the case in November. There he was arrested along with his wife who flew in to Norway to accompany him.

Sai Siriam remains in India with his brother, and is currently undergoing therapy there, local media sources report.  The Indian consulate in Norway is reportedly seeking to provide legal aid to the Vallabhanenis.

Critics are labeling the incident the latest example of what have become known as “state sponsored kidnappings” by Norway’s Child Welfare Services department, known as “Barnevernet.” The incident is the second action against Indian nationals in less than a year. The Nordic country of Sweden has developed a similar reputation for such behavior, which often seems to target foreigners for childrearing practices that differ from the countries’ norms.

Indian couple Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya lost custody of their two children, Abhigyan, 3, and Aishwarya, 1, in May of last year for such offenses as feeding their children by hand and having them sleep with them in their bed.  Following negative publicity on the case in the Indian press and protests by Indian diplomats, Norway agreed to release the children into the custody of an uncle.

In another case, the government of Sweden removed seven-year-old Domenic Johansson, whose mother is Indian, from the custody of his parents as they sat on a plane preparing to fly to India, because they had attempted to homeschool him in Sweden.  He has remained in foster care for more than three years, while his parents have been allowed to visit him for one hour every five weeks. His mother has suffered a nervous breakdown and his father was jailed in 2010 for taking his child home with him following a supervised visit.

Contact information:

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington
2720 34th Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel:  (202) 333-6000
Fax:  (202) 469-3990
E-mail: emb.washington@mfa.no

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa
150 Metcalfe Street
Suite 1300                                                                                  
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1P1
Tel:  (613) 238 6571
Fax: (613) 238 2765
E-mail: emb.ottawa@mfa.no