US child custody row: Couple advised to await court verdict

September 13th, 2012 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) The government Thursday said it has advised an Indian couple embroiled in a custody battle with a child protection agency in New Jersey (US) to seek a lawyer to help them and suggested that they should await the outcome of the judicial process on this issue.

“We received a communication from the New York office of the state department yesterday (Wednesday). We have been told that since the matter is sub judice, we should await the outcome of the judicial process,” Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, told reporters here.

“The next hearing is on Sep 14. We hope that this matter can be resolved at the earliest,” he said.

The spokesperson added that the ministry has been in touch with the state department’s offices in New York and Washington on this issue since the couple had approached them for help Sep 1.

It’s a consular issue and will be resolved according to how we assess it, he said.

“We advised the couple to seek a lawyer to represent them. We hope they will have a lawyer to represent them at the hearing (Friday),” he said.

In a throwback to the Norwegian case involving an Indian couple, Debashish Saha and his wife Pamela, who hail from Balurghat in West Bengal, is seeking custody of their one-year-old son Indrashis, who received multiple injuries following an accident Aug 9.

A child protection agency in New Jersey has blamed the couple for the accident and restricted their access to Indrashish, who is now being treated at a New Jersey hospital.

The couple has sought the Indian government’s help to reunite them with their child.

The child protection agency suspects that Indrashis was shaken violently by his mother which resulted in the injuries. The child has suffered a subdural haematoma and a retinal clot due to “intentional shaking,” said a medical report.

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