Indian special envoy in Norway over child custody row

Abhigyan Bhattacharya and Aishwariya Bhattacharya There is hope the children will return to India soon

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India has sent an envoy to Norway to discuss the issue of the children of an Indian couple who were put into foster care by child services last May.

The children, aged three and one, were taken away after child services said the parents were not taking care.

Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, the parents, deny this and say "cultural differences" led to the situation.

They were recently allowed to spend a couple of hours with the children in the presence of social workers.

"Special envoy Madhusudhan Ganapathi has arrived in Oslo where he will meet [Norwegian] foreign minister and other officials," ministry of external affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin wrote on Twitter on Monday morning.

"Foreign Minister SM Krishna's message to his Norwegian counterpart will be conveyed by the special envoy today," he added.

The case has received a lot of attention in India and last month the Indian government intervened to find a quick solution to the dispute.

The couple have said they are hoping for a final decision by the middle of March as to whether the children will be allowed to return to India in the custody of their uncle.

The parents said there were "cultural differences" the authorities took exception to, including sleeping with the children and feeding them by hand.

Norway's child welfare agency has denied this, saying it only intervened when the children's safety was at risk.

The Indian government has told Norway that the children are being deprived of the benefits of being brought up in their own cultural and linguistic environment and it was important they should return to India as soon as possible.

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