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Norway won't release kids in custody row

Norwegian social workers, who sparked a diplomatic row by removing two Indian children from their parents, said yesterday they were calling off a deal to place the kids with their uncle in India due to a spat within the family.

"In light of the great uncertainty that now prevails, the Child Welfare Service (CWS) cannot maintain that a move to India would be in the best interest of the children," said Gunnar Toresen, the head of the agency's local branch in the southwestern Norwegian town of Stavanger.

The two children were removed from their parents in May 2011 by the CWS, which deemed they were not receiving proper care. The parents Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, have rejected the allegations and initially claimed that the authorities objected to their feeding the children by hand and sharing the same bed.

Earlier this week however, the father, Anurup, changed his story, saying, "It was not just cultural bias that prompted the CWS to act. My wife has a serious psychological problem." A Stavanger court had been set to hold a hearing on Friday on whether the initial deal to hand custody of the children to their uncle in India was in their best interest, but the CWS said the new developments "make it impossible to carry out the hearing.
Norwegian authorities were worried "that the children could be caught up in a very unfortunate tug of war in India."

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