An old child welfare case in Stavanger has made big headlines in India. Now the matter is relevant again, after the Bollywood film “Mrs. Chatterjee Vs. Norway” premiered earlier this month.
The film is based on the case, and is the most watched Bollywood film in Norway.
The mother in the story the film is based on, Sagarika Chakraborty, responds in an article published in The Indian Express that the Norwegian embassy is trying to dismiss the film as fiction.
According to Sagarika Chakraborty, it is not correct. She says in the post that she lived this story.
She further writes:
«Twelve years ago, my two-year-old son and five-month-old daughter were taken from me by the Norwegian child protection agency. It came with all kinds of accusations against me. After pressure from the Indian government, the child protection agency sent my children back to India in my brother-in-law’s custody, even though he was only a 26-year-old bachelor. I objected. I went to the Indian authorities and submitted myself for evaluation».
According to her, the Indian Child Welfare Committee has concluded that she was a suitable mother. The court in Kolkata in India did the same, and she regained custody of the children.
The ambassador: – Not true
Both Sagarika Chakraborty and her ex-husband, Anurup Bhattacharya, have previously said that the child protection agency responded that they were still sleeping with the children in the same bed. Not least, it must have been a problem for the child welfare services that Sagarika still fed the children with her hands.
Both the embassy and a former child protection manager have denied this in an interview with Dagsavisen.
Norway’s ambassador to India, Hans Jacob Frydenlund, has also written an article in The Indian Express, where he explains the embassy’s view. Namely that the case is not about co-sleeping or hand-feeding, and that he understands that Indian parents are of course just as fond of their children as Norwegian parents.
The mother: – Love used against me
Sagarika still stands her ground. She believes that co-sleeping and hand-feeding are included in the child welfare agency’s own reports. According to her, this should not have been mentioned in the report if it was not part of the reason she lost her children.
– My love, which was expressed as fear of losing my children forever, was used against me, as an argument to take my children away from me, she writes in the post in The Indian Express.
The mother also reacts to the fact that the Norwegian government has been silent since the case began, but that now that the film is out, they are downplaying her truth.
– How can the ambassador comment on the film’s portrayal of my story and condemn it as fiction, when I lived this story? I implore everyone to go and watch the film to witness my truth as well as educate themselves about what continues to happen to Indian parents globally. All I can say is that the truth will prevail.
[ Når Bollywood henger ut norsk barnevern ]
Children’s protection: – Fiction
The Norwegian embassy in India writes on its own website that “Mrs. Chatterjee Vs. Norway” is a work of fiction, although it is based on an actual case.
Furthermore, they write that in order to protect the children and their right to privacy, the government cannot comment on specific cases due to strict confidentiality regulations.
“The more children they put in foster homes, the more money they make,” is one of the lines you can hear in the trailer and which caused the embassy to react. Although they could not go into the matter specifically, they still wanted to point out the facts:
- Children will never be taken away from their families because of the cultural differences described. Eating with your hands or children sleeping in the same bed as their parents is not considered harmful to children and is not unusual in Norway, regardless of cultural background.
- Child welfare is not driven by profit. The alleged claim that “the more children placed in foster care, the more money they make” is completely wrong. Alternative care is a matter of responsibility, and not about making money.
- The reason why children are placed in alternative care is that they are exposed to neglect, violence or other forms of abuse.
- We feel for the affected families, especially the children. For those involved, there is no doubt that such experiences are difficult. Child welfare cases are not simple. Not for the children, not for the parents and not for the child welfare services, which must find the right solution.
The embassy has also pointed out that they feel for the affected families, especially the children. For those involved, there is no doubt that such experiences are difficult. Child welfare cases are not simple. Not for the children, not for the parents and not for the child welfare services, which must find the right solution.
Former head of child protection in Stavanger municipality, Gunnar Toresen has also said in an interview with Dagsavisen that the film does not show history as it happened.
Toresen has said that there were conflicts between the married couple which was one of the reasons why child protection intervened. The father of the children, Anurup Bhattacharya, has also confirmed that the couple had problems in their relationship.
Neither the child’s father nor the child welfare services were contacted by the film team behind the film.
[ Når to verdener kolliderer – igjen ]
[ Barnevernet og Bollywood ]
Tags: mother Sagarika Chakraborty Chatterjee Norway stands ground child protection case Stavanger Dagsavisen-