Activist group backs Indian couple in US custody battle

Coming out in support of an Indian couple engaged in a custody battle with the child protection agency in the US, a group of politicians and activists on Thursday appealed to the US to immediately repatriate the one-year-old child back to India. In a petition to the US Ambassador in India, Nancy J Powell, they demanded announcement of a date by which Indrashish, who has been in foster care since September last year, will be repatriated to his relatives.

The group said in the petition that the Indian government had already given US authorities a report stating that Indrashish's family members in India were fit to care of him. "Despite a lapse of over four months, US authorities have failed to give any commitment on when Indrashish will be returned. No reason has been cited for the delay by US authorities other than procedural matters that bear no relation to the welfare of the child. In the meantime, baby Indrashish has been repeatedly injured and suffered medical emergencies in foster care," they alleged.

The signatories to the petition include former Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Mukul Mudgal, CPM leader Brinda Karat, lawyer-activist Suranya Aiyar, former NCW chairperson Mohini Giri and CPI leader Annie Raja. They said the child's parents wanted that he be returned to relatives in India.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the child's grandfather Nirmal Saha said that US authorities have no right to keep his grandson. "We are ready to take charge of my grandson," he added. Aiyar said the medical condition of the child required that he be immediately repatriated. "A cyst has been discovered in Indrashish's brain, but in foster care, medical attention has been limited to the insurance-paid medical examinations prescribed in the foster system. They have not taken him for specialist assessments or obtained expert second-opinions," he said.

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