Moral Low Ground


Norwegian Social Workers Seize Children From Indian Parents Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya over Culturally Different Sleeping and Eating Habits

An Indian couple living in Norway have been stripped of custody of their two young children because of culturally different sleeping and eating habits.

According to Mail Online, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya lost custody of their three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter eight months ago after Norwegian Child Protective Service officials found aspects of the couple’s parenting to be “inappropriate.”

Just what prompted social workers to seize the children?

The Bhattacharyas were feeding them by hand and sleeping in the same bed with them, both of which are culturally acceptable in India, but apparently not in Norway.

Speaking to India’s NDTV, Anurup said: “They told me ‘why are you sleeping with the children in the same bed?’ [I told them] this is also a purely cultural issue. We never leave the children in another room and say goodnight to them.”

About the “inappropriate” feeding method, Anurup added: “Feeding a child with the hand is normal in Indian tradition and when the mother is feeding with a spoon there could be phases when she was overfeeding the child. They said it was force feeding. These are basically cultural differences.”

This shocking story caught the attention of the Indian government, which has reached out to Norwegian authorities in an attempt to reunite the family. But the Bhattacharyas have been told that they will only be allowed to see their children twice a year for an hour at a time until they turn 18.

According to Mail Online, Norway’s Child Protective Service has come under fire for being too quick to take children from their parents.

“There has been a report in UN in 2005 which criticized Norway for taking too many children in public care,” lawyer Svein Kjetil Lode Svendsen told Mail Online. “The amount was 12,500 children and Norway is a small country,” he added.

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  1. Angela in AfricaJanuary 19, 2012 at 12:32 amReply

    Please, how can we out here in the world stopped this disgusting deed ? What can we do. This will destroy the child and the whole family….are they sick or mad ? Please tell us what we can do to make a BIG noise about this ?

    • Brett WilkinsJanuary 19, 2012 at 9:05 amReplyAuthor

      Well, if the government of India hasn’t made any progress, I don’t see what we can do. I suspect there will be an international outcry as this story makes headlines around the world. Perhaps that will persuade the Norwegian child protective service of the error of their ways? Also, their side of the story ought to be heard too.

  2. VesaJanuary 19, 2012 at 11:38 amReply

    An international campaign needs to be set up. This is totally inhumane, even fascist. It is unbelievable that something like this happens in Finland’s neighbour.

  3. TommyJanuary 19, 2012 at 12:34 pmReply

    I seriously doubt that this is all that there is to the story.

    I can’t believe that everyone is eating this up … the parents are taking on the role of the victim in order to get custody back. In reality there must be other reasons that the parents aren’t letting the media know. (violence, serious neglect)

    • VkJanuary 24, 2012 at 4:09 amReply

      If there are other reasons for taking the children away from parents in this case, then surely it is something that should be explained by the Norvegians and not by the parents of the children.

    • N.D.CHANDRUKAJanuary 24, 2012 at 9:04 amReply

      It is ridiculous that a foreign Govt acts in such an irresponsible way with Indian Citizens, ignoring the welfare of Children,Our culture, their parents and all the citizens of India and the world at large.
      India should warn its citizens against visiting such nasty countries.
      Fact is that what Sagrika and Anurup were doing for their Children was the best method of upbringing their Children. A foster Home can only spoil the Children and cannot give love and affection as parents can give.
      Norweigh must be condemned for such ridiculous actions by the United Nations too.
      Can they dare to behave in this manner with a US or British National? Certainly not. India should issue strong warnig to its citizens against Norweigh. Media (including BBC/CNN) should bring this news in very strong manner to the attention of Globe so that Norweigh is cut-off from other Countries and does not dare to repeat this type of action.

    • HenrietteJanuary 25, 2012 at 8:06 amReply

      In Norway the system dosnt need to have any valid reason presentable for the public to take children from their parents.
      There is no rule of law on these matters in Norway. Those working for the state pretend to do what is in the best interest of the child(ren) by in practice saying that whatever they feel is appropriate is in the best interest of the child regardless of other laws.
      So with all resepct Tommy unless you have seen this system from the inside in Norway you have no idea what is usually behind this.
      And yes the injustice they have been put through is happening a lot in Norway.
      Any pressure to make Norway start respecting human rights for both Norwegians and others on this matter is welcome.

    • social workerJanuary 29, 2012 at 9:14 amReply

      You are quite right, this is not possible even in Norway. The social workers are not allowed by the laws to tell the real reasons publicly.

      • HenrietteJanuary 29, 2012 at 3:57 pmReply

        Unfortunatly there is nothing even about this here in Norway.
        Social workers are allowed to lie and make up unfounded reasons as they please. Use the made up reasons to pretend its an emergency pick up kids at school/kindergarden without allowing even good byes.
        Even after this the parents are not allowed to see what they are accused of doing to their own kids.

        And yes this happens to families where both kids and parents have done nothing wrong, other then being different somehow.

        They may be poor and have trouble getting any needed healthcare because its state monopolised.

        So its a through and through mostly rotten system where most workers do not work long before quitting if they have retained a conscience.

        This is how it works in Norway.
        So help to change it and give Norwegian families their human rights back is very much needed.

  4. Lalit K. Jain, Esq.January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pmReply

    Attorney, New York (US) and India says:
    Jan 19, 2012
    WITHOUT DELAY, IF Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya can contact us with copies of all paperwork in this case, WE CAN HELP.
    Law Offices of Lalit K. Jain, Esq.
    6122 Booth Street, Rego Park, NY 113741034
    Office: 718.255.6576 / Cell: 718.316.5921

    • KRMurtyJanuary 23, 2012 at 10:29 amReply

      You haven’t said you will do it free. If you are using this situation to advertise your legal services, please tell us how you charge!

  5. MANOJJanuary 21, 2012 at 9:55 amReply

    In india 120 crore people have been sleeping with parents till the age of 10 year. This is same in china also. The India asia , it is all the same culture. We feed by hand whole life. We do not use spoon at all. We can not be cruel to our kids by putting them to some other room at the 2 year. Should India take away the childs of couple who are putting the kids to separate room bed for being cruel? It is just the reverse. That shows the self obsession of Norway’s people. Come On… India is much better, we respect all the religions and cultures.
    Can some one launch a campaign to Norway government to return the indian kids to India. We will just not travel to Norway for future. It was the mistake by indian couple to be there for 2 years in norway and loose whole world there.

  6. DENNIS DEYJanuary 23, 2012 at 7:05 amReply

    The child center is probably paid by the number of children it holds, and foreigners are easy targets.

  7. a m malikJanuary 23, 2012 at 8:02 amReply

    I feel sorry for the parents. Same is done in Pakistan. And hence is the reason that children generally are emotionally stable and caring for their loved ones in particularly the Parents.
    Why should the parents – child relations be governed y the idiocarncies of the few

  8. KRMurtyJanuary 23, 2012 at 10:09 amReply

    Norway has no business keeping the children. If they did not like how the children were being raised, they should ave cancelled the family’s visa, and handed over the children to the Indian embassy in their coungry or to the child welfare agency in India. It seems to me that Norway wants to keep the children to grow up as slaves, and fill up their manpower needs.

  9. NSJanuary 23, 2012 at 3:13 pmReply

    This is an inhumane behavior. I am appalled that there is no largescale outcry and more forceful action by the Indian Government. People should boycott Norway.

  10. mentabolismJanuary 24, 2012 at 1:17 amReply

    what a way to discourage immigration to Norway!! who’d want to go there now and steal all their benefits..Not me for sure with my small kids!
    This family has just been made a scapegoat in what could be a larger conspiracy to discourage migrants from Asia. Racism in another form?

  11. hungrypenguinnJanuary 24, 2012 at 9:18 pmReply

    Norway…hardly someone will find that place in world map & they are harassing Indian citizens. What so great in their culture…. they take bath after 7 to 10 days…dirty fellows..
    I request Mr. SM Krishna to take it very very strongly with those dirty fellows..

    It sounds ‘Noway’ better rather than ‘Norway’..!!!

  12. IndianJanuary 26, 2012 at 12:51 amReply

    This is forcefully taking the kids away to make them grow under norwaygian culture and ethenicity. This should be handled very seriously by respective govenment. Norway govt should be told to return the children without any condition within decided timelimit or face Armed action. We have right to save and protect our kids and people in any country even if the use of force is required.

    • ShockedFebruary 23, 2012 at 6:48 amReply

      It is very alarming that a child service which seems to be totally uneducated in global culture and common sense is being allowed to get away with destroying a hostage family involving 2 innocent children for so many months already. Even if they lack good books and libraries in Norway, can they not look at nature to see that children need to cuddle and snuggle up to their parents for comfort and security in the dark of night ? Does nature provide spoons when a child is born ? Does Norway’s child service also intervene when a mother breast-feeds a new-born, since that also involves nature’s way of physical contact ? How is ‘attachment disorder’ helped when all forms of attachment and warmth are discouraged at such a tender age ? It’s shocking to realise that such an abnormally depraved system is being nourished in civilised society.

  13. KoenJanuary 26, 2012 at 5:02 amReply

    This is just unbelievable
    we Nepalese too feed our children with our hands and let them sleep in the same bed with the parents
    This is just insane

  14. Edna FletcherJanuary 29, 2012 at 7:47 amReply

    Social workers in the UK are removing children from parents in large numbers on a regular basis for often no more than trivial incidents / reasons not amounting to abuse or neglect. They frequently use terms such as ‘potential for emotional harm or abuse’ acting as mind readers of the future situation to get the courts to do what they want. They lie and fabricate consistently and make un-evidenced personal judgements on family situations.
    In the UK the local authorities use injunctions and prison to shut parents up so no one knows the truth of a case.

    So anyone automatically thinking the parent has does something- well it is hoped you or your family suffer this horrific fate to wake up to the scandal that is gripping ordinary families by power and money hungry social services departments who do things in secret.

    • HenrietteJanuary 29, 2012 at 4:24 pmReply

      Pretty similar to the Norwegian system in other words.

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