Indian couple face jail for ‘child abuse’, Khurshid says ‘pvt citizen, Norway law’

As Norway slapped criminal charges of "repeated maltreatment" on the Indian couple accused of child abuse, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Saturday that while the Indian embassy will do whatever is "appropriate", the incident relates to "a private citizen and the local law".

The couple — V Chandra Sekhar, a software professional from Andhra Pradesh, and his wife Anupama — were arrested on November 28.

"The mission will do what is needed and permissible because of public concern. We also have to be sensitive to international and bilateral concerns," said Khurshid. "This is an issue that relates not to the government. It relates to a private citizen and to the local law of that country," PTI quoted him as saying.

"Sometimes, we express concern about something that happens to citizens of our country but within the parameters of the law as is applied by those countries... But of course there is public interest and concern," said Khurshid.

Meanwhile, the Oslo police department said "the couple have been charged with gross repeated maltreatment of their child/ children by threats, violence or other wrong under section 219 of the penal code. The prosecution proposed a sentence of one year three months for the mother and one year six months for the father. The judgement would be pronounced on December 3."

Speaking to The Sunday Express in Hyderabad, Chandra Sekhar's nephew, V Shailendra, denied the charges and said the couple are "very loving and caring parents".

Chandra Sekhar's father, V Satyanarayana, said the couple often got calls from the school in Oslo complaining that their seven-year-old son was hyperactive and mischievous. "Like all parents, he may have told the boy to behave properly in school... This happened about six-seven months back. In between, my son and his family visited Hyderabad... they were here from July to October and then went back," he said.

"After the boy returned to school, he wet his pants in the school bus one day... The next day, it appears that he refused to get into the school bus to return home. He apparently told a child counselor that his father had threatened to send him back to India if he received any more complaints," said Satyanarayana.

The couple also have a two-year-old child.

Sources said the MEA has been following the case for some time. They said a consular officer from the Indian embassy met the couple.

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