Indian couple jailed in Norway for child abuse, family shocked



A court in Norway Tuesday sent to jail an Indian couple on charges of child abuse, shocking their family members, who termed the judgment one-sided.

The Oslo District Court has found V. Chandrasekhar, an employee of Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) on deputation to Oslo, and his wife Anupama, guilty on several counts of child abuse

The Oslo sentenced Chandrasekhar to 18 months and his wife to 15 months in jail.

"In the view of the Court, the couple deliberately burned their son's leg with a hot spoon or similar object with the result that the child had burn marks measuring approximately 3x5 centimetres," said a statement on Norway's official website.

"The Court also found that it had been proven that the parents had on several occasions hit the child with a belt or similar object and that they had on one occasion threatened to burn their son on his tongue with a hot spoon.

The proven abuse took place over a period of six to seven months and, therefore, falls under section 219, first paragraph, of the Penal Code on repeated maltreatment."

"One of the parents received an unconditional prison sentence of 18 months, and the other an unconditional prison sentence of 15 months. This is in line with the sentences proposed by the prosecution. The verdict can be appealed to the Borgarting Court of Appeal," the statement added.

Shocked over the judgment, the family members 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.

The parents of Chandrasekhar and Anupama, broke down on hearing the news of their conviction.

"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 digestible 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 counselling 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.

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. - IANS