Indian couple's conviction in Norway shocks family
A court in Norway Tuesday sent to jail an Indian couple on charges of maltreatment of their child, shocking their family members, who termed the judgment one-sided.
The parents of V. Chandrasekhar, an employee of Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) on deputation to Oslo, and his wife Anupama, broke down on hearing the news of their conviction.
The district court in Oslo sentenced Chandrasekhar to 18 months and his wife to 15 months in jail. A family member said they were shocked.
They termed the verdict "one-sided" as the court did not take into account the issues raised by the couple, including the report sent by a psychiatrist from here.
"There was no response to our concerns. We came to know that the court did not take into account the points raised by our lawyer. This is not a digestable situation," Chandrasekhar's nephew V. Sailendra told reporters at their residence in Miyapur here.
"We have the option of appealing in a higher court and we will exercise that option," he added. The couple's children -- seven-year-old Sai Sriram and his two-year-old younger brother -- are living with their grandparents at Miyapur.
"Our biggest worry is how to handle the children because they are inquiring about their parents. They want to know because newspapers and television channels are carrying their pictures," said another family member.
Sailendra said both the children were depressed and they were sending regular reports to the Oslo police about their health condition.
"What kind of justice is this? This verdict has separated the children from their parents. The children can't live without them. The two-year-old is very attached to them and he needs their care," he said.
The family alleged that the authorities in Norway have blown the issue out of proportion when Sriram had told his school teacher that the parents chided him for bed-wetting.
Psychiatrist Kalyan Chakravarthi, in his report sent to Oslo court, said he had several sessions of counseling with the boy.
According to him, Sriram is 'mild to moderate' case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (APHD) and was showing positive signs till the situation turned awry with the arrest of his parents.
The family members are also unhappy with the Indian government for not doing anything to help the couple. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid ruled out any intervention, saying the issue relates to a private citizen and to the local law of that country.
The couple was arrested by police in Oslo last week on charges of "gross or repeated maltreatment" of their child.
Justifying their arrest, the Oslo police have termed the case as "very serious". A police officer has been quoted as saying that the boy bore burn marks and scars on his body and that he was beaten with belt.
The couple's lawyer denied that they hurt the boy but said they had some difficulties in handling him. The family members said the boy had sustained some accidental injuries while playing.
The arrest was made nine months after Sriram complained to his school teachers that his parents were threatening to send him back to India for wetting his pants.
Originally hailing from Krishna district in coastal Andhra, Chandrasekhar with his family returned home in July this year. Chandrasekhar again left for Norway on Nov 23 for work. This time he went only with his wife leaving behind both his sons.
The family members said the couple had gone to Norway in response to the summons issued by the Oslo court. "They wanted to close the case and clear their name before returning to India. They did not expect things to take this ugly turn," said a family member.