New Internationalist

Norway snatches Indian children from their parents

A major story in The Hindu, India’s most serious English daily, has caused shock and consternation among readers here. Two young Indian children in Norway have been taken into foster care. Their mother Sagarika was accused by the Norwegian Child Protection Service last May of being unfit to take care of her two-and-a-half-year-old son, Abhigyan, and five-months-old daughter, Aishwarya.

The reasons cited will appear bizarre to the average Asian, African and, I imagine, South American parent. The child rights authorities decided to visit the Bengali home when baby Aishwarya was still being breast fed. The Norwegians decided, after observing her for one hour every week, that the mother, Sagarika, was unfit because she overfed the boy and fed him with her fingers. Anyone who knows Asian or African cultures would know that we eat with our fingers and it’s normal to feed children using your fingers, not a spoon. Many Asians overfeed their kids (when they have food and don’t come from impoverished families).

Another black mark against the young Bengali parents was that the boy slept with his father. Most Indian families, except the ultra-westernised ones, always keep young children in their beds. Asian people are appalled at the idea of babies and young children being in separate bedrooms. It’s viewed as another barbaric, misguided Western custom. How can they possibly leave a baby alone all night in another room, all by itself!

I know Norway is not terribly multicultural, but it seems to me ludicrous that they should be allowed so terrorize a young, foreign mother, deeming her unfit, with no respect for her culture, background or social customs. Social service departments are often callous and frightening. Their ability to take away children from their parents is nightmarish, like something out of a horror film.

The father, Anurup, has been employed in Norway as a senior geoscientist since 2006. It’s unlikely the mother of the children, or indeed either of the parents, has fully learnt the Norwegian language. One can imagine their plight, temporarily in a foreign land where they don’t fully understand the language. Suddenly, they’ve had their children forcibly taken away from them. The babies, now aged three and one, are separated, put into foster homes, where the new parents probably look alien and frightening and speak a different language.

As a flight attendant thirty years ago, I once had to accompany an Indian infant who had been adopted by a German couple. On reaching Frankfurt, the new parents were waiting with joy and hope for their baby. The child, confronted with alien, white faces, screamed in terror. There was nothing I could do but hand over the baby. Even now, I vividly remember that terrified, traumatised, screaming child.

The news report stated that the parents are now allowed to see their children for one hour, once a year. And the kids will remain in custody until they are 18. For the bewildered, terrified, young couple this is a total nightmare. Their Norwegian visas will expire shortly and they have no clue what will happen next.

For the average Indian who reads this story, we cannot imagine how a foreign government has the right to do this. The grandparents of the children have appealed to the President of India to help them get their children back.

I hope at least the Norwegian embassy in India can intervene to rescue the traumatized parents and infants and give them back to their family. They, at least, should know that Indians eat with their fingers, overfeed their kids and never leave babies alone in another room. 

Comments on Norway snatches Indian children from their parents

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  1. #1 Sadie 23 Jan 12

    It is dangerous to allow young children to sleep in the same bed as adults - they risk death by smothering, and it increases the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Western parents do not send infants to sleep in another room, they have a separate cot for the baby next to the adults' bed. For information on Western beliefs about safe sleeping, read below

  2. #2 Priya 23 Jan 12

    What can we do to help? This is aweful.. and by the way Sadie (below) co-sleeping babies are NOT at risk of being smothered because the parents are on semi-alert sleep mode, read up on the latest research. My ’western’ french-canadian husband and I have coslept with our baby since her birth and she is a healthy, ALIVE, beautiful, secure and confident 10 month-old. Get your archaic, narrow mindset rectified by taking in the latest research...

  3. #3 Paulose 23 Jan 12

    I have already send a petition email to Norwegian embassy today in Mumbai, Chennai and kolkata (copy/pasted the same email) and also to Norwegian Kings office in Oslo and also to the Concerned child protection dept in Norway. I wrote about my families strong protest in this inhuman act and have told them to return the child to their grandparents at the earliast. I urge my fellow Indians to do the same. Let them be bombarded with protest emails. The email addresses can be found easily through google.

  4. #4 concern parent 23 Jan 12

    even if you focus on the issue for a sec, legally they have to give warning to the parents and enough time to make changes and only after that they can take any action if that's their policy. But this is almost like they have some other motive behind this. I or any good parents should never live in Norway EVER.

  5. #5 Mona 23 Jan 12

    According to a BBC report today, another issue that the Norwegian Child Protection agency had with the mother had to do with breast-feeding. They told her that she should breast-feed the baby according to a fixed schedule, and not when the baby wants to be fed as is practiced in India. I suppose the commenter above, Sadie, will have some sort of research link that shows that it is dangerous to breast-feed on demand and that it is healthier to let a baby cry until feeding time arrives. As someone with a graduate degree in psychology and as someone who lives in the west, I must say this to Sadie: trends in child-rearing practices ebb and flow, and every trend is based on some very authoritative research. What is considered an absolute no-no today, will be recommended practice tomorrow. We know that northern European cultures tend not to be as warm or as people-friendly as southern European cultures and certain other cultures around the world are. Think about what that means in terms of human instinct, nurturance, etc. and whether they really would know better than anyone else in the world how to rear a child.

    Here's the BBC link I was referring to:

  6. #6 NR 23 Jan 12

    Sadie, you are the epitome of ignorance. Please do not ever post a link to an article in order to make a point. I am sure people could find a million things wrong with your parenting skills, and post a link to an article pointing out why you are such a bad parent. Do you honestly believe that the government can take better care of these children than their own parents? And please, let's not glamorize foster care.....everyone knows children are abused in foster care. You are absurd to think that the best interest of the children lies with anybody but the biological parents.

  7. #7 Michael Desouza 23 Jan 12

    This reminds me of the case of Dr. Marietta Higgs in the United Kingdom, who in her misguided enthusiasm had children seized from their parents and put in foster care with no chance of appeal.

  8. #8 Thomas Baker 24 Jan 12

    Kings house
    [email protected]

    Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi
    [email protected]

    Child Protection
    [email protected]

    Please write a few lines to these emails.

    Good work Paulose, let's hope it's not just the Indians who are complaining.
    Sadie, I hope you can contribute in an appropriate way to this story.

  9. #9 onedaywonder 24 Jan 12

    Even if one were to attempt to give the Norwegian childcare authorities the benefit of the doubt, it beggars belief that the children have been placed with two separate foster families. So not only have they been separated from their biological parents but also from each other. This seems like child protection gone mad to say nothing of the cruelty.
    For a recent Indian press update of the situation see:
    For a short Indian television interview with the parents see:

    If anyone has seen good responses from Norwegian media, commentators, please post. It would be good to hear their views.

  10. #10 onedaywonder 24 Jan 12

    Further to my previous post: it appears that the reason we aren't hearing much from the Norwegian childcare authorities is due to confidentiality concerns - the prohibition against discussing particular cases. In this instance it only makes them appear draconian.
    They dismiss suggestions that the reasons being given are the reasons for removing the children, they reject cultural misunderstanding, suggesting more serious reasons, but not saying what!
    Apparently the couple have lost one appeal in a lower court.
    Here's something from a Norwegian source, but it doesn't shed much light:

  11. #11 Isabel 24 Jan 12

    ’The child, confronted with alien, white faces, screamed in terror. ’

    The infant was terrorized because of the color of their faces, not because they were strangers? Racist.

  12. #12 amar 24 Jan 12

    there are several possible motives for this. They know India and Indians are often weak in their response to injustice against them. They would not be doing this to any country such as US, Chaina, or any arab countries. They will do it to ones like thailand, philippines, India, etc.

    Now, WHY would they do this? Norway has declining birthrate. They need people, kids. No not far fetched: Hitler had people kidnapped to work in his war factories, from other countries.

    If not recovered, These kids will grow up in Norway as second class labourers, not citizens, but some type of immigrants. Fosterhomes are not parents. they take care of kids of money.

    Soon, Indian govt and newspapers will froget about thsi. Another cricket match, another scandal, another election.. and parents after crying a lot, will lose their visa and be deported. So Norway gets two worker kids for future, that their blondes did not (and are unwilling to) get pregnant for.

  13. #13 mainer 24 Jan 12

    There is a risk of parents rolling over IF THEY ARE DRUNK!! Breastfeeding moms don't drink and dad certainly wasn't drunk when he had the 3 year old next to him.

  14. #14 martyn healer 25 Jan 12

    i am stunned,shocked ,horrified at this cultural racism and will see what i can do to help these poor children and parents,demand feeding is natural and best practice,having lived in india i know that children there are far more emotionally secure than western children ,i am a father of 7 and step father too 8 others ,sadie you have no idea !

  15. #15 mari 25 Jan 12


    With one billion plus populations, Indians and Chinese, 99% of whom sleep surrounded by their kids,(poor families dont even have the luxury of bedrooms,) its not likely babies are being smothered or suffocated by their mums or dads. And I'm not trying to knock western child rearing, merely to explain traditional Indian cultural norms.

  16. #16 mari 25 Jan 12


    I am definitely not racist. Some of my best friends are English. I have nephews and nieces who are half African-American, half English and other family who are half Burmese, half Japanese and a Chinese aunt. If you took an English baby from a totally white neighborhood and handed it over to Indians it would be terrified initially. The baby I carried to Germany didn't cry when it was handed to me, a stranger. Like I said, the German parents were waiting joyfully for their child, and Im sure after the initial shock, the child would have been happy. I definitely did not mean to imply in way that cross cultural adoption was wrong, and I apologize if that's how it came across. I was merely recalling a vivid memory, and thinking that these poor kids must have gone through something similar.

  17. #17 julie cigman 25 Jan 12

    I taught in a nursery school in England where there were a lot of Pakistani families. We had to explain to dinner supervisors that they mustn't tell children off for eating with their fingers, or force them to use a knife and fork.

  18. #18 Sue 25 Jan 12

    We are just hearing one side of the story here as the Norwegian Child Protection agent are unable comment due to privacy laws.

    Children are removed when: ’... a child is mistreated or subjected to other serious abuses at home, or when there is every probability that the child's health or development may be seriously harmed because the parents are incapable of taking adequate responsibility for their child,’

    How many people proven to have mistreated or abused children claim to be innocent? I would be careful about igniting knee jerk reactions by taking the parents word as truth. Certainly arguing that the Norwegian system lacks respect for cultures is gaining the couple support.

    Would it be right for Norway to change privacy laws so that they can respond? I think probably not, I suspect they are in place to protect the kids.

    The question is, does the Norwegian system apply proper scrutiny to such cases. This article promotes the couple's case and fans the fire but doesn't tell us if the legal system is fit for purpose.

  19. #19 Cynthia Stephen 25 Jan 12

    It has just been reported by IBNlive that a compromise solution has been reached with the Norwegian child protection agency agreeing to give custody of the children to their father's brother, who will soon travel to Norway for the purpose, and probably bring them back to India. The parents will have unlimited visiting rights. One of the children is said to show autistic tendencies. The intervention of the Indian government - the parents had appealed to the President of India - appears to have worked. Thank God it will soon be totally resolved! But many lessons here for parenting styles/practices in different cultures; the need for being sensitive to children's cultural needs; and a slightly more accepting attitude to diverse childcare practices in all culture as long it does not discriminate or deprive the child in any way.

  20. #20 Cynthia Stephen 25 Jan 12

    It has just been reported by IBNlive that a compromise solution has been reached with the Norwegian child protection agency agreeing to give custody of the children to their father's brother, who will soon travel to Norway for the purpose, and probably bring them back to India. The parents will have unlimited visiting rights. One of the children is said to show autistic tendencies. The intervention of the Indian government - the parents had appealed to the President of India - appears to have worked. Thank God it will soon be totally resolved! But many lessons here for parenting styles/practices in different cultures; the need for being sensitive to children's cultural needs; and a slightly more accepting attitude to diverse childcare practices in all culture as long it does not discriminate or deprive the child in any way.

  21. #21 Suliaman 25 Jan 12

    The parents fighting this long and hard is enough proof their feelings are genuine. Like the biblical story who is the real mother.

    Damned Barnevarne can keep their screwed-up findings ’confidential’.

  22. #22 Rajesh Sydney 26 Jan 12

    I think, this isreally sad that the kids are taken away from Parents. But why ? big question. Government is not sitting in each house, how do they know about feeding and co sleeping issue. Government or authority cannot take any action,until there is a complaint. The big and bestquestion is ’ who complaint to the Authority about these people and whatwas the complaint.
    I respect the Authority decision to keep the secrecy of this case, as they said it could be serious for the kids. On the other hand the couple is taking advantage of giving the name racism for this in absence of real story.

    Until this is clear, what was the real reason, who informed police, how police came in action, this is stupid to take side of couple or the police.

    I wish good luck to the kids.

  23. #23 Natalie Fisher 26 Jan 12

    This is absurd and disturbing. I have emailed the Norwegian Children services to complain.The sad thing is I know kids that are physically emotionally and sexually abused that are still with parents despite them knowing abuse goes on. There is no consistency and this must have been so traumatic for those babies. Just because a Government report says something doesn't make it right. I slept in bed with my daughter until she was about 1 and she creeps in early on a saturday for a snuggle and a snooze with me now she is 7. So what?? We eat pizza with our hands and sometimes we spill crumbs down our clothes!! Nazi ss social services make me sick. :(

  24. #24 Kamy Joseph 28 Jan 12

    I read Mari's comments with interest and read the article in the papers. I have worked for many years in social care with children who have been removed from their parents for child protection concerns and I run training courses for foster carers and social workers on this very subject of working with minority ethnic families and caring for their children.
    I am concerened that the authorities in Norway has appeared to be following practice that would be considered outdated here in the UK. i.e they are bringing eurocentric values to make their decision. There is more than one way to provide good parenting of children The children's welfare and needs appear to be lost in this whole situation.
    This is a family with no extended family support and also strangers in a western culture.
    I remember when I first came to the UK in the early seventies, I felt London a strange and depressing area ( it was winter).Customs were different and I didn't many people of asian background and I found it difficult to find any familiar food. I felt very low and depressed. London is very different today. If it wasn't for friends from home who were studying here at the time, I am not sure I would have got through successfully.
    Norway social services needs to identify what this family needs in the form of support and also educate them with parenting skills if they felt that the mother was overfeeding her children. This is not an offence but a matter of what she understands what she needs to do to be a 'good parent'. If the mother is suffering from depression than removing her children is being very punitive. She cannot help her mental health issues.The family needs support and help and not punishment.
    Norway social services needs to undertake training on how to address the needs of asian families in their community and not to use eurocentric values to base their judgement on. It is rather arrogant to assume that the social workers assumption of what's good parenting is the better model.

    Keeping the children in foster care till they are 18 will further damage these children and also create more problems. They most likely will be moved from foster carer to foster carer as the children's behaviour become more difficult to manage over time. How can this be in the children's long term best interest?

    Kamy Joseph

  25. #25 A Joseph 29 Jan 12

    The case certainly seems outrageous but I'm also somewhat puzzled about such gross insensitivity to cultural difference in what I'd always assumed was a relatively progressive (politically correct) part of the world.

    Since I didn't have much access to the Net over the past several days I may have missed some important details about the case -- especially the specific, confirmed grounds for the removal of the children from their home. Have you or anyone else come across any information about the process (if any) that led to the taking away of the children from their parents? Was there any prior inquiry, investigation, intervention (dialogue, mediation, counselling, etc.) - with due translations (if necessary), etc.? Did the parents have a chance to explain the conduct that the Norwegian authorities obviously decided was inappropriate?

  26. #26 Norwegian 29 Jan 12

    As a Norwegian I would like to make some comments. I do understand the parents desperation and the shock this gives in the whole of India, as loosing ones child is the worst that can happen in your life. But to explain a little. In Norway every child should live with it's parents, but if the home is dangerous for the children's development, the government has a responsibility to secure the child. We know that if a child is not responded to in it's infancy, it gives the child experiences of terror which will destroy it's brain and make it impossible for the child to regulate emotions, learn and be social. If the mother is severely depressed, it will have a stoneface which is extremely dangerous for a child.

    In Norway 5% of the population is from Asia and Africa, and 30% of the children in the capital, so of course the child welfare wouldn't take the children away because of eating with fingers or sleeping with parents (which is getting more and more normal in Norway too).

    If your children are taken away it is extremely shameful, and of course you will say that it was because of eating habits. Probably the mothter has been very angry at the child who wouldn't eat, and maybe the social worker has said that it maybe is easier if she tries with a little spoon, as the child have more anatomy. The contact is the crucial point, not what kind of utensils you use. If you look carefully of all the photos of the children, one can see that they are very frightened children.

    Look at what depressed parents can do

  27. #27 Norwegian 29 Jan 12

    Eating with the fingers is not the problem:

    This is the problem:

    And this:

    This kind of prolonged states for a child disturbs the brains development and harms the child for the rest of their life.

  28. #28 Juluie George 30 Jan 12

    Hi Mari, shocked as all of us are, the western worlds seems to be back to their ancient and favourite hobby of taking over the lives of those in the so-called 'Third World'. And we have unfortunately a fairly impotent bunch at the top of our governance structures! The less said the better!! Love, Julie

  29. #29 mari 30 Jan 12

    Dear Readers,

    There is a lot of controversy and my information is from newspapers. I dont have any insider information.The following article in the Hindu should interest you.
    The iron hand that rocks the cradle
    Marianne Haslev Skånland

  30. #30 Maureen 31 Jan 12

    Great job, Mari, wonder why the Indian Embassy could not help. Glad to hear that the children are now with their uncle.

  31. #31 John Adams 02 Feb 12

    This is where cultral differences start clashing with the intrusion of our way of life as being the correct way to live.

  32. #32 Judith 02 Feb 12

    This is a shocking report that reveals the importance of cultural diversity as a factor in social development. The need for sensitisation of the host country to the demands of inter-cultural co-existence is critical. Even with foriegn adoptions the issue points to the rights of children. The relevant United Nations conventions may provide guiding principles in both situations.

    On a lighter note if there were dangers with SIDS how does one explain the high population rates in countries such as India.

  33. #33 Margaret Foggie 02 Feb 12

    In a way I sympathise with the actual Social Worker concerned. I work with young parents and at times their drug use, language and inability to play with their children make me wonder how the children can hope to grow up fitting in to our society - and these are white, probably third or fourth cousins of mine as this is such a small country.

    I have to control my desire to make everyone behave as I and my educated church-going friends did 30-40 years ago. In this case as soon as they received the Social Worker's report, didn't her bosses say - ’Not everyone is the same, These child are being brought up according to their own culture.’

    Obviously they did not and unless there are facts we don't know, it is hard to fit that into my picture of life in Norway - as hard as it was to see the massacre at the Youth Camp. We had Dunblane and I remember thinking ’This can't be our Dunblane - such things don't happen here. I hope the embassy can get the message over.

  34. #34 Lyndab 02 Feb 12

    I'm shocked and saddened at the venomous, patronising responses to some of the comments. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. A bit of tolerance wouldn't go astray!

  35. #35 jane 02 Feb 12

    I am a white Brit and I thought Norwegians were civilized. I am not so sure. I think most Norwegians are civilized but maybe one jobsworth in the social services is not. I do not see what is wrong by feeding with fingers. I am very aware of the Indian eating rules and the use of a clean right hand, this has been drummed into me when eating with Indian friends, especially as I generally eat left handedly!. I thought they should have been pleased that the mother was breast feeding rather than bottle feeding. (NB I breast fed my child on demand until he was one, during this time he was only ill once, after stopping he then caught a cold!) If they felt that she was over feeding I would have thought it would have been better to give advice rather than remove the child. I hope that that mother has her children returned to her with abject apologies and some compensation. And as for sharing a bed, I do not see the problem, so long as the parent does not mind being kept awake! I occasionally had my son in my bed but I did not enjoy it, however it was at times when he needed comfort of some sort.

  36. #36 Parimala 02 Feb 12

    I had tears in my eyes after reading your callous of the government to treat people such of whose cultures and traditions they are evidently unaware of...I think we need to voice our concerns to the Indian government and request them to intervene on behalf of the entire family...imagine the children's trauma to say nothing of what the poor parents must be undergoing...SOMETHING MUST BE DONE FOR THIS FAMILY...

  37. #37 Deborah Parks 03 Feb 12

    Please forward and post this link to every mother, every daughter, every sister, aunt, friend, grandmother, every woman you know and every man you know who honestly supports women's rights... Mothers' Day 2012 is NOT VERY FAR AWAY, but it really is too far, too long to wait, to have our children home. So, if we don't get our children back out of the system of ’child protection services’ or ’family’ court or the juvenile system, BEFORE Mothers' Day, May, 2012, THERE WILL BE AN INTERNATIONAL STRIKE by WOMEN, MEN and PROTECTORS OF CHILDREN around the world TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THE KIDNAPPING AND SALE OF CHILDREN by our ’justice’ system!!!

    Please Join us for A MOTHER'S RIGHTS TO HER CHILDREN, Mothers Day Protest...

    Will you be noticed the day after Mothers Day?

    The IDEA: Our Pledge -

    All loving mothers who CANNOT BE PROVEN IMMEDIATELY TO BE OF IMMINENT DANGER TO HER CHILD/CHILDREN MUST have their children returned to them immediately!

    WE WILL lock our doors, walk out of our jobs, stop driving our cars, stop spending money, stop cooking meals, WE DRIVE THE ECONOMY! WE WILL STOP PARTICIPATING IN SOCIETY UNTIL MOTHERS GET THEIR CHILDREN BACK!!!



  38. #38 Terry 03 Feb 12


    Is anyone interested in telling the Norwegians where to shove their xmas tree when they attempt to deliver it this year?
    By the way Sadie below is quite wrong: most westerners do put their baby in a different room and there is no evidence of smothering. Yet, there is evidence of increased sudden infant death syndrome when babies are left alone, especially when placed on their bellies to force them to sleep! This was all discussed back in the 90s and the conclusion were as above. I cannot believe that you are so uninformed and justify the gross interference of the state, to the point of abducting children, because of your belief that the western ways are somehow 'better'.

  39. #39 Tejal Rajyagor 04 Feb 12

    Sad and angry to know the reasons for which those children were taken away from their parents. In Oct 2011, I attended an Asia Pacific Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. In the same conference, there was a representative from Norway Ombudsman who was present. I have written an email to few of the people who I met in that conference. Hoping that some of them will be able to help.

    Tejal Rajyagor

  40. #40 Tejal Rajyagor 04 Feb 12

    As per this report, there is now an agreement between the GOI, Norway and the Parents and the children will be handed over to their Uncle.

  41. #41 thandiwe 05 Feb 12

    I am a South African.I have fed my children with my fingers,they slept in my bed untill almost a year old.(I have a 4 bedroom house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)My kids have grown up content,confident,and are successful in their professions...
    NO culture is superior to another,NO human is superior.
    My sympathies to the mother....AND shame on those that judge thro'ignorance.

  42. #42 Amanda 05 Feb 12

    I would like to hear the social worker perspective. This seems ridiculous and somewhat backward considering Norway's reputation as a leader in the field of childcare in Europe. If the above article is true and the reasons for removing the children are as stated it would appear that legislative wise Norway do not support equality and diversity which is simply unlawful. Cultural diversity must be promoted and supported.

  43. #43 mari 05 Feb 12

    The news from a Norwegian reader
    The iron hand that rocks the cradle
    Marianne Haslev
    shocked me even more. Perhaps some independent child rights organisations cd investigate both Norway and Sweden to examine these frightening allegations.
    I wd request readers to pl keep comments civil, however emotive and volatle this news is, not just for these 2 Indian kids, but all kids taken away from their families unjustly or unfairly.

    Thanks dear readers for the continued interest and comments on this blog.

  44. #44 Gouthami 10 Feb 12

    New research conducted in the UK and presented on BBC indicates that babies fed with a spoon are more likely to develop obesity as they grow older!

  45. #45 Thompson 10 Feb 12

    Mother is the first teacher to her child.No mother does harm her child. Its the best part of a mother to sacrifice for the child. The govt of Norway should recognize this.

  46. #46 Georgie Francis 10 Feb 12

    Having read this awful account of a mother's separation from her children, so wrongfully imposed, I can only beg and urge the Norwegian social services to recognise the disparity within imposed cultural values and practices and restore these young and vulnerable children to the mother and parent they most vitally need as soon as possible. I trust to the authoratitive powers to recognise the needs of these children to be reunited with their own parents as a matter of urgency.

  47. #47 Hope 11 Feb 12

    What kind of society is this? they dont have human emotions....cant they respect our indian culture n accept it. what a pity on those children indian govt should take an initative bring back the parents n children both to india.
    A small help can bring happiness.

  48. #48 Abraham 16 Feb 12

    India as well as that is not natural. We could also aruge that sanitary conditions for the development of kids are not respected as they use toilet papers instead of washing themselves. Take away couple of children from two Norwagian families and that will really have an impact. Though In do agree that we should not do petty things playing with the lives of childre. But we have really no other option.

  49. #49 Helping hand 16 Feb 12

    What is the population of India ? And what is the population of Norway? How old is the Indian civilization? Why feeding with hands, unscheduled breast feeding and sleeping with parents never killed rest of the Indian population since centuries? The greatest thinkers , leaders, scientists, respected countrymen were children once and they all got their parents love the way their parents wanted to. Does a mother need certification from an agency to breast feed? How shameful is this law that separated children from loving parents. It is the right of the child to be with its parents and in their own culture.

  50. #50 Antara 16 Feb 12

    According to western culture it is wrong to feed children with their hands and sleep with them on the same bed.But it is alright for parents to suddenly have a love affair and dump their kids on a whim. Mothers leaving hubby and kids for richer men are ok, but feeding with hands is not. Kicking children out as soon as they turn 18, if it is inconvenient for the parents is also ok. Having two homosexual perverts bring up a child and tell the chld that ’not all kids need a mommy and daddy’, that is also ok, but obviously feeding with hands is not!

    Well, we all know the result. Western countries have many more kids with psychological illnesses resulting from insecurity and teenage pregnancy and a mess of their lives.

    To be frank, I'm quite happy I slept with my parents as a kid, was fed with my ma's loving hands and grew up normal and healthy than I'd have been if I slept in a crib and my father had left me and ma for another woman when I was a kid and my mother had kicked me out when I turned 18 and I'd become a misguided lonely teen mom. I will chose India over Norway any day!

  51. #51 Vikings 21 Feb 12

    This is really unfair. I believe this is a scheme by Norwegians to steal the baby. Their population is dying. This is the best way to steal the baby. Stay away from the depressing countries like Norway, Sweden, rest of north Europe. This is another way to destroy a happy family. Norwegians are backward thinking creatures.

  52. #53 nemmy 28 Feb 12

    They have no business to do what they did.The norway govt should be penalised.

  53. #54 nemmy 28 Feb 12

    They have no business to do what they did,The couple was not even their citizens ,nor were the kids.How they eat,sleep or live need not change to suit their culture or standards,I'm sure 90% of indians eat and feed with our fingers and sleep with our young kids.India should retaliate and snatch all nowegian citizens' kids in india for eating with spoons and fork and letting babies sleep in seperate rooms.Thats the only answer they need.
    Imagine the impact of 18 years seperation from their parents,they will be complete strangers,Norway Govt should be penalised so heavily that they think a million times before repeating such an act

  54. #56 Garm 22 Mar 12

    And then it turns out that there were really good reasons for the Norwegian authorities to take the children into care, and everyone who were raging against it without any of the relevant information were...not on the right side.

    Imagine if the Norwegain authorities had been less steadfast and returned the children to the parents? This sort of internet campaigning can do very real harm.

  55. #57 mari 24 Mar 12

    Dear Garm

    I dont think the Norwegian govt was right. My next blog will explain why but please look up\google recent reports in the Hindu to read what Norwegian social workers, carers and advocates and experts say.


  56. #58 Nisha 03 Apr 12

    A breast feeding, cosleeping family, hand feeding mother gets her babies taken from her!? This is bull, i was born in America and I am 100% Pakistani and I did all those things and my parents did too. It's the culture.the Norwegians are nothing but a bunch of neonazi aholes.. taking babies away from their parents, I'm disgusted and I'm praying that they get their kids back.

  57. #59 elizabeth frederick 17 Apr 12

    Many familys both feed their children with their hands and sleep with the baby in the same room. I wonder if something else precipitated this because it seems very unreolistic of a social service person not to understand that this is so often done.I hope the Indian government interveines and gets this family back together. I also agree that for a child of one type of people to get stuck with people who do not look anything like their familar and loving family would be scared .

  58. #60 aspie 10 Jul 12

    I should be dead then. I'm autistic and when a baby I would not sleep except actually on top of my mum. What was she supposed to do to make me sleep? For a white parent in Britain late 60s nobody said this was wrong. You can tell the story above is about racism.

  59. #61 Jan 05 Aug 12

    What Norwegians are doing is simply barbaric. It is just shocking. I always thought Norway is great place to live but after reading cases of Barnevernet kidnaping it is the last place I would like to live. Stupidity of reasons given for stealing kids from their bioligical parents is mind boggling. Norwegians become more brainwashed by socialism then Soviet Stalinist.

  60. #63 Maggie 10 Nov 12

    ’The child, confronted with alien, white faces’ - what a racist comment. If a white person wrote about ’alien black faces’ there would be uproar. I imagine the child was frigthend just because the parents were unknown to it. Little children don't see colour, unlike you. If foreigners don't like European ways, stay in your own countres.

  61. #64 Indian 04 Dec 12

    Dust has not settled on this nightmarish case,another parents are suffering from same horror only this time a software professional couple . When these people come to INDIA we dont burden them with our love enriched customs,then why are they forcing their horrible ideas to our peoples .They are there only for short term visas ,not holdiing their citizenship.

  62. #65 andiran lionheart 09 Jan 13

    I am from Norway - and can only confirm that this was in the Norwegian news too.
    Our family, who are Norwegian, and who has chosen to live a holistic life style, has also been attacked by this Government Office, they nearly took our children away because we did not live in a ’normal’ way of life.
    In fact, in Norway the state ’owns’ the children - and this is a 9 billion a year (in kroner) Government business with an awesome power and almost without supervision.
    They are a state within the state.
    Norway breakes human rights here, and many complaints have been sent to the international court in Haag, also from Norwegian citizens...and for foreigners (Indian and Poles for instance) it can be very challenging.
    Our family also knows about the Indian culture, since we lived in India for 16 months from 2002-2003, actually in Ooty/Masinagudi in the Nilgiri Hills.
    So please, we need more protests !
    Andiran Lionheart

  63. #67 Elevator India 15 Feb 13

    Norway Govt finnaly return both the child to their family
    [a href=’’]Elevator India

  64. #68 Shar 04 Jun 13

    I hope it is clear to all that the family did not understand special needs for autistic child, and disobeyed instructions by 2 health care workers for independence training. The entire responsibility for care of the child was on the sick mother.

  65. #69 Asha 22 Jul 13

    In response to the comment made by Sadie, I have not heard of any mother in india who has smothered her young one simply because the child was in the same bed. Parents have that instinct which helps them to realise - even in deep sleep, that there is a child in the bed.

    Parenting is very cultural and any nation would do well to respect that. Cruelty ad abuse cannot be tolerated, but reasons such as breast feeding a slightly older child, or having the child sleeping in the parents' bed is no excuse.

    Having said that, is it possible there were other deeper reasons for this, which have not been highlighted in the Indian press?

  66. #70 Knut Holt 30 Nov 13

    Also native Norwegians fear badly the SWF system in Norway. They use children as trade objects out of greed for money. If you deviate from some strict and unnatural normality scheme or culturally, your children are really in danger. This system snaps children to the full extent of their capacity. If you give them the double capacity, they will snap twice as many children as now.Generally I worn families with children moving to Norway or even visiting Norway as tourists.

    To kiss your child or give it a good embrace is enough in this country to be suspected of child sexual abuse and have your children taken away from you. They have a myriad other normality paragraphs too, or just invent some new case by case as they feel conveniant. If for example a child has a healthy weight and a healthy diet, they will state thaty the child is underfeeded. If the child is somewhat fatter they will call it overfeeding. In this way they twist the definitions of neglect and abuse so to suit any case,

    The best way a foreigners can help both themselves and Norwegian Citizens against this system is total and full boicott of all Norwegian companies and products, and by not settling in Norway or go to Norway as tourists.

    Regards Knut Holt

  67. #71 Josh 05 Jun 14

    Norwegian government is a bunch of stupid idiots after they make this kind of law that allows ’animals’ to take children from their normal parents.

    What is worse for a child to be fed with fingers or to be separated from parents in shock and extreme distress?

    Only insane people can do this!

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About the author

Mari Marcel Thekaekara a New Internationalist contributor

Mari is a writer based in Gudalur, in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu. She writes on human rights issues with a focus on dalits, adivasis, women, children, the environment, and poverty. Mari's book Endless Filth, published in 1999, on balmikis, is to be followed by a second book on campaigns within India to abolish manual scavenging work. She co-founded Accord in 1985 to work with Adivasi people. Mari has been a contributor to New Internationalist since 1991.

About the blog I travel around India a lot, covering dalit and adivasi issues. I often find myself really moved by stories that never make it to the mainstream media. My son Tarsh suggested I start blogging. And the New Internationalist collective are the nicest bunch of editors I’ve worked with. So here goes.

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