The Telegraph
Monday , September 10 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Baby release plea to President

Balurghat, Sept. 9: Family members of an 11-month-old boy whose custody has been claimed by a child protection group in the US will write to the President of India, asking him to seek the baby’s release.

Indrashish Saha is in a rehabilitation centre at New Jersey and according to family sources.

Indrashish flew to New Jersey in July along with his father Debashish and mother Pamela, who are not allowed to see him now.

Debashish is a software engineer working for IBM and he was sent for a six-moth training programme to the US.

Debashish’s father Nirmal Saha said today in Balurghat: “On August 20, when my son was in office, Indrashish (who was at home) fell to the ground from a bed while playing. My daughter-in-law was in the room at that time. The child was admitted to a nearby hospital and a minor surgery was done. Since then, Indrashish is in the hospital. The hospital authorities told my son that they were not sincere and had no right to bring up the child.”

Nirmal added that after the Indrashish recovered, the hospital informed the New Jersey Child Protection Team.

“The organisation has demanded the child’s custody. They are interrogating my son and daughter-in-law and have warned them of possible legal actions according to the American child policies,” said Nirmal.

“We will appeal to the President of India to do the needful (for the boy’s release). Our President is a Bengali and we hope he takes extra care in this case. We are sending a letter to the President through the (South Dinajpur) district magistrate. We will submit the letter to the DM tomorrow,” he said.

Debashish, who is in the US with his wife, said they were not allowed to meet the boy.

“There is a peculiar child policy here. We are not being allowed to meet our son. We have come to know that he has been crying. We pleaded with the hospital authorities to allow us to meet our child. But they refused. I had never thought that I would land up in this kind of trouble here in this unknown country,” Debashish said.

He added that the hospital authorities have told them that the boy could be kept at a relative’s custody if they had any in New Jersey.

“But we have no relatives here. I have tried to contact the Indian embassy but no positive result has come out of that yet. The child protection team has moved court already seeking the boy’s custody. They have alleged that we had beaten up our child. The next hearing is on Monday. I don’t know what to do. To appoint a lawyer here will be very expensive,” said Debashish.

Earlier this year, two NRI children, who were kept in foster care in Norway for almost a year, were reunited with their families after a legal battle.

The siblings had been taken away from their parents by Norway’s Child Welfare Agency in May last year on grounds of “emotional disconnect”.

The parents had denied the charges.

“I do not even know if I will get back my child,” Debashish said over the phone from New Jersey.

Today, state Congress general secretary, Omprakash Mishra, met Indrashish’s grandparents who stay at Kundu Colony here.

“It is unfortunate. Here the parents are considered the best caretakers of a child but in the USA, the role of the parents is limited. I think there has been a misunderstanding on their part. It is not an offence. It was just an accident (that the boy fell from the bed). We will send papers (seeking the child’s release) to the foreign secretary tomorrow,” Mishra said.’

He added that they would also seek the foreign minister’s intervention.

“We will also meet the foreign minister and request him to take measures so that the child can be handed over to his parents. We will also talk to our ambassador in the USA. I hope Indrashish returns to his parents soon,” Mishra said.