Fathers crave to meet kids in custody of estranged wives

May 9th, 2009 - 2:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Indian American scientist Ravi Chandran has been searching desperately for his son Aditya in India for more than a year - after his ex-wife “abducted” the child, now six years old, and brought him to India in 2007.
“After the divorce, I was given full custody of Aditya by the New York Court on Sep 14, 2007, but she (wife Vijayasree Voora) adducted the child and came to India, and now she is moving from one place to another to avoid arrest,” Chandran said at a press meet organised by NGOs here.

Chandran left his job with a pharma company in the US to look for his son in India. He has shifted to Hyderabad.

Chandran says he has been knocking on every door, begging everyone to find his son. “I really don’t understand why people think that a father cannot love his kid. I just can’t sleep thinking of my son. He has not been admitted to any school for more than 21 months,” he sobbed.

He has scoured numerous places, including schools, and visited many police stations to trace his son.

Vijyayasree had filed a petition in the Madras High Court in November 2007 for sole custody of the child, which was dismissed.

In February this year, the Supreme Court of India ordered Karnataka Police to find Aditya.

Kumar V. Jahgirdar, president of NGO Children’s Rights Initiative For Shared Parenting (CRISP), said: “It is very unfair that we give an advantage to the mother in custody cases and easily cancel the visitation rights of the father. We get a large number of calls from India and abroad from fathers seeking help to be able to meet their kids.

“I understand the grief of a father who has not been able to see his kids after divorce so I made it a mission to help such people,” Jahgirdar told IANS. He himself is fighting for custody of his daughter. His ex-wife has married cricketer Anil Kumble.

“As the school of my daughter is near my house, I just wanted that I should be able to keep her on weekdays, and they could keep her on weekends. But they have not agreed and the case is in the Supreme Court,” Jahgirdar added.

Sayed Maqdoom, a Canadian citizen of Indian origin, committed suicide on April 9 in Bangalore after not being allowed to meet his child regularly. He was fighting for custody of his son and was frustrated after his wife filed a false dowry case against him.

“I am shocked with the Indian system. My brother has died fighting to see his son. He died at the age of 33. Now I just pray that no such father should die craving to see his child,” Maqdoom’s sister Sabina told IANS.

Maqdoom had made a video clip of himself while committing suicide. His wife had apparently married thrice earlier before meeting him.

Rajiv Kocher is another father who has lost visitation rights to his child.

“Despite the court orders I was not allowed to see my kid, so one day I could not control myself when I saw my child in the court and ran away with him and kept him with me for a week and then returned him. But later on I found that my ex-wife has slapped a number of charges against me and now I am in hiding and can’t even see my kid,” Kocher told IANS.

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