Indian couple imprisoned after falling into hands of Norway’s child protection system
OSLO, December 14, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The government of Norway has sentenced two Indian parents accused of child abuse to 15 and 18 months in prison, despite having released the child into their custody and allowing him to return to India with them months ago, adding what may be two more victims of the Nordic countries’ infamous child protection system.
Chandrasekhar and Anupama Vallabhaneni’s nightmare began earlier this year, when the Norwegian government took their seven year old son, Sai Sriram, from them after he complained of being scolded by them for urinating in his pants, according to reports in the Indian media.
The couple was living in Norway temporarily while working for the software company TCS.
Sai Sriram was released by government officials a month later, and returned with his parents to India.
Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni returned alone in October, leaving his wife and son at home. He was then issued a summons to appear in court in November regarding the case, and his wife flew in to accompany him. Both were arrested in the court, and on October 4 were sentenced to 18 and 15 months in prison respectively.
Norse authorities claim that the child had burn marks and had been beaten with a belt. The parents reportedly claim that the burn marks were due to an accident, and deny abusing their child.
No explanation has been published in press reports of why, if Sai Sriram was abused, he was returned to his parents and allowed to leave the country with them.
“The Oslo court judgment was disappointing. It heard only one-side of the story from prosecution and had not given any opportunity to my uncle and aunt to present their version. We will challenge the judgment in a higher court,” said V Sailendra, Chandrasekhar’s nephew, to the media. Although an appeal was since filed, the couple will be held in jail during the interim, according to India Today.
The case follows numerous other infamous cases of children taken from foreigners on flimsy grounds by the governments of Norway and Sweden. Indian parents appear to be a major target.
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Opponents of the government’s child protective services systems say their systems amount to “state-sponsored kidnapping” that seems to have an economic motive: foster parents are given tens of thousands of dollars in government aid for caring for the children.
In a recent case that attracted international media attention, Indian couple Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya lost custody of their two children, Abhigyan, 3, and Aishwarya, 1, to Norwegian authorities 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.
Although a lower court ruled that Domenic’s parents, Annie and Christer Johansson, were to retain their parental rights, the government appealed the ruling and on Monday a higher court dissolved their parental rights completely. They are no longer permitted to have any contact with Domenic.
Such “kidnappings” by the government of Norway have become so common that foreigners victimized by the system have repeatedly turned to the services of Polish private investigator Krysztof Rutkowski to rescue their children from foster care and smuggle them out of the country.
Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington
2720 34th Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 333-6000
Fax: (202) 469-3990
Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa
150 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1P1
Tel: (613) 238 6571
Fax: (613) 238 2765