Couple's conviction shocks family

Published: 05 December, 2012 06:51 IST | Agencies |

Norway court sentences husband to 18 months in jail, wife gets 15-month term for 'gross or repeated maltreatment' of their seven-year-old son

Hyderabad: A court in Norway sent to jail an Indian couple on charges of maltreatment of their child yesterday, shocking their family members in India.

The parents of V Chandrasekhar, an employee of Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) on deputation to Oslo, and his wife Anupama, broke down after they heard the news.

The court sentenced Chandrasekhar to 18 months and his wife to 15 months. The family member said they were shocked.

Parent trap: Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni and his wife Anupama have denied accusations of child abuse

“We will appeal in a higher court,” Chandrasekhar’s nephew V Sailendra told reporters at their residence in Miyapur.

Sailendra said the couple was depressed over the court sentencing them without taking into consideration the concerns raised by them.

The family members are also unhappy with the Indian government for not doing anything to help the couple. The couple’s children — seven-year-old Sai Sriram and his 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.

The couple was arrested by police in Oslo last week on charges of ‘gross or repeated maltreatment’ of their child.

Burn scars
Justifying their arrest, the Oslo police have termed the case as ‘very serious’. A police officer has been quoted as saying that the boy bore burn marks and scars on his body.

“There were burn marks and scars on the body of the child, who has also been beaten by the belt,” said Kurt Lir, Head of Prosecution, Oslo Police Department.

Asked why the police arrested the couple before the sentencing, Lir said, it is feared that they will evade prosecution by returning to India. According to reports, the couple have also been accused of burning their son with a hot metal object.

The couple’s lawyer denied that they hurt the boy but said they had some difficulties in handling him. 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 November 23 for work.

This time he went only with his wife leaving behind both his sons. A court in Oslo issued summons and later the police arrested them.

In the past
In the recent past, Indians have fallen foul of Norway’s parenting laws. Norway’s Child Welfare Agency had taken two children into custody in May 2011 alleging their parents did not adequately look after them. The parents said that "cultural differences" were behind the agency’s decision and the incident caused a diplomatic row between the two countries. Finally, in April, Norway handed the children to the uncle

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