Norway child abuse case: India holds out diplomatic hope to jail-bound couple

Vayalar Ravi

India can diplomatically "do something" in the alleged child abuse case involving an Indian couple in Norway, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said today.

"The government can diplomatically do something," he told reporters here.

The couple – Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni, a software professional from Andhra Pradesh, and his wife Anupama – have been charged with "gross or repeated maltreatment" of their child and remanded in custody.

Asked to comment on External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's statement that the issue did not relate to the government but to a private citizen and to the local law of that country, Ravi said, "That is a legal position but diplomatically we can try to influence the government."

".... We can tell him (ambassador) to try to help the family," Ravi said, adding he had tried to contact India's Ambassador to Norway but his efforts did not succeed.

"I hope the Ambassador must have done something," he said ahead of pronouncement of judgement by Oslo District Court in the case.

Asked whether the Government will provide consular assistance to the couple, he said, "that is not under my control" and only Khurshid as the External Affairs Minister could handle such issues.

Ravi said he could only tell the Ambassador that if he needed any fund from his ministry for the case, he could sanction it.

The couple's seven-year-old son was found wetting his pants in the school bus which was reported to his father, who in turn "threatened" the child that he would be sent back to India if he repeated that again.

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