A court in Norway sent an Indian origin couple to jail on charges of child abuse, shocking members of their families who termed the judgment one-sided. The Oslo District Court has found V Chandrasekhar, an employee of Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) on deputation to Oslo, and his wife, Anupama, guilty on several counts of child abuse. The court sentenced Chandrasekhar to 18 months and his wife to 15 months in jail. “In the view of the court, the couple deliberately burnt their son’s leg with a hot spoon or similar object with the result that the child had burn marks measuring approximately 3x5 centimetres,” said a statement on Norway’s official website.
“The court also found that it had been proven that the parents had on several occasions hit the child (Sai Sriram) with a belt or similar object and that they had on one occasion threatened to burn their son on his tongue with a hot spoon. “The proven abuse took place over a period of six to seven months and, therefore, falls under Section 219, first paragraph, of the Penal Code on repeated maltreatment. One of the parents received an unconditional prison sentence of 18 months. The other got an unconditional prison sentence of 15 months. This is in line with the sentences proposed by the prosecution. The verdict can be appealed to the Borgarting Court of Appeal,” the statement added.
Calling the judgment one-sided, the families of the convicted couple said in Hyderabad they would appeal to a higher court in Norway seeking justice. “My uncle Chandrasekhar spoke to me after the sentencing and he is planning to appeal to a higher court and is consulting lawyers. We have not revealed to Sai Sriram about the jail sentence as we are worried that his condition could worsen,” Chandrasekhar’s nephew Shailendra told the media.
The Norway court ignored the medical reports prepared by specialist Dr Kalyan Chakravarthy about the condition of the boy. “How can a hyper active kid recover without parental guidance for more than a year,” he pointed out. Expressing anguish over the future of Sai Sriram, his doctor Chakravarthy said in Vijayawada that the court failed to take into consideration the pressure under which boy’s parents have discharged their responsibilities even in Norway. “While Sriram was hyper and often violent, the little one Abhiram is asthmatic and needed constant nebulisation,” he pointed out.
While Chandrasekhar’s mother fainted after hearing about the sentence and was inconsolable, the condition of Anupama’s parents who live in Dilssukhnagar here is no different. At the Mrudula Apartments where the two children are living, many of the close relatives vented their anger on the indifferent attitude of the Indian government. “How can External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid say that the couple consists of two private persons? Are they not Indian citizens,” questioned Anupama’s brother Bhushan. He demanded urgent action from the Indian Embassy and also the External Affairs Ministry in providing legal aid to the couple. “We were told by the lawyers that the school’s orange book in which the child’s prognosis was recorded was missing. The Oslo police are hell bent on setting an example by targeting an Asian couple,” Bhushan alleged.
The family members of Chandrasekhar are planning to meet the chief minister to impress upon him the need to seek help from the Centre. However they ruled out taking the children, particularly Abhiram, to Norway.