The Hindu newspaper, March 7, 2012:
The Marios say their children were taken away by Child Welfare Services
Even as Indian couple Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya anxiously await the verdict of a district court in Norway on the question of the custody of their children, a Sri Lankan family is facing a similar situation in the country.
The Bhattacharyas have been battling the Child Welfare Services in Stavenger since May last year and it was only after the intervention of the Government of India that an agreement was reached to hand over three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya to their uncle.
The children of Joseph and Jacqueline Mario, who migrated to Norway 20 years ago, have been taken away and put into foster care by the authorities of the Child Welfare Services in Bergen since November last year, Mr. Mario told The Hindu over telephone from Bergen.
“One day we suddenly receive a telephone call asking us to come to the office of the Child Welfare Services to meet our children. And from that day on, our children were put into foster care,” Mr. Mario said, adding that the children were taken away from school.
He claimed that 12-year-old Marlin and 8-year-old Meloni were being kept in separate foster homes for the last four months and the two could only meet each other in school.
Mr. Mario said the Bhattacharyas’ case has generated much publicity and the former realised that their children had been taken away on similar grounds.
“We were told that we did not know how to raise our children. Our son and daughter shared the same room and slept on the same bed, which the Child Welfare Services objected to,” he said, adding that their plea of “cultural differences” was not accepted.
He said other charges including “giving the children too much chocolate” had been raised in the 100-page report given to them.
“Our son and daughter really miss us. Each time a visit is scheduled, they bring little gifts — flowers or some artwork they have done in school — for us. They tell us over and over again that they love us and ask when they will be coming home,” he said.
He said the family was allowed to meet twice a week initially, but of late the frequency of the visits had been reduced by the child care which said “they were tiring for the children.”
At present, the couple are following the instructions of the officials of the Child Welfare Services to find out how they may bring the children back home, Mr. Mario said.
While the Government of India was able to intervene in the Bhattacharyas’ case, the Marios face a tougher challenge ahead because they are Norwegian citizens. While Mr. Mario and the children only carry a Norwegian passport, Mrs. Mario retains her Sri Lankan passport along with a Norwegian one. Attempts to contact officials of the Child Welfare Services in Bergen yielded no results.
According to this article:
The number of children being put in foster homes goes over a thousand a year, says Berit Aarset, who heads Human Rights Alert Norway. She says children are put in foster homes after their biological parents are framed on false charges.
She says, the UN has been criticizing Norway since 2003 for the fact that too many children are in foster homes and institutions, without the Norwegian government having shown any signs of changing this practice. Ms Aarset believes keeping the children against their parents will is state kidnapping and adds, “This is not the first time such a thing is happening in Norway, the legal system favours the child welfare services and they do what they want, all the time (sic). Quite often, when a Norwegian is married to a non-Norwegian, they do the same thing. They also do this to asylum seekers and in almost every case they say one of the parents have a mental problem just to make their case strong. That’s what has happened in the Bhattacharya case too. They do this to ethnic Norwegians parents too.”
Many parents in countries such as Poland, Russia, Turkey and Sri Lanka claim their children were wrongfully taken away.
This happens not only in Norway. The following extracts are from an article about a similar case in Sweden:
The tragedy concerning the Johansson family began in June 2009, when then seven-year old Domenic was forcibly removed from his parents, Christer and Annie, while the family was on board an airplane bound for Annie’s homeland of India. Swedish police snatched Domenic without a warrant, placed him in state custody, and have not charged the Johanssons with a crime. Authorities have subsequently pointed to some minor dental problems and a spotty vaccination history as justification for continuing to hold Dominic in state custody.
One of the major reasons for the state-napping and continued seizure of the child was because the family homeschooled him. “Sweden’s government continues to go down a frightening path of educational tyranny as it implements harsh policies causing more and more homeschooling Swedes to flee the country. In the past several months, three families have relocated from Sweden to neighboring countries under pressure because educational officials have reported them to social authorities. The social authorities have virtually unlimited power to take children from families and cause great pain and suffering if they choose to,” Donnelly said.
It looks like new inquisition is born in Europe. Those who are going to visit those places need to think how to protect themselves. It might be helpful to get literature from the Dark Ages to learn some tips because that epoch is coming back.