New Delhi - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Monday joined hands to demand that the Norwegian government send back the two Indian children kept under foster care so that they are reunited with their parents.
Expressing concern over extension of residence permits of the two children, aged three and one, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj asked the central government to put pressure on Norway and said her party would be raising the issue in the upcoming budget session of parliament.
"We will raise the issue in parliament if the children are not reunited with their parents before March 12," she told reporters while expressing solidarity with the grandparents of the children who were protesting outside the Norway embassy here.
"There is no politics involved in this, the whole nation is agitated as they are our children... it is very sad," she said.
Sushma assured the grandparents all help to get their grandchildren.
"They have been dilly-dallying on the issue. The parents and children will have to go through immense agony and trauma during this period. In order to put pressure on the authorities, we decided to sit on a dharna," said Monotosh Chakrabarty, grandfather of the children.
CPI-M leader Brinda Karat agreed and said: "The Norway government is working like a law unto themselves," adding that the visa could be extended without the consent of the parents.
"The Indian government should put more pressure on them. UN has already criticised their law relating to children... This is kidnapping and nothing else," she said.
Incensed by the move to extend residence permits of the two children, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had said Thursday that the government would make "all out" efforts to ensure their early return.
The external affairs ministry had also reacted sharply to the attempt by Norwegian authorities to keep the children there after their visas expired and said the kids were neither "orphans nor stateless persons".
Three-year-old Abhigyan and one-year-old Aishwarya, children of Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, an NRI couple living in Stavanger, Norway, were taken under protective care by Barnevarne (Norwegian Child Welfare Services) in May last year on grounds that they were not being looked after properly by their parents.
An agreement was done nearly a month ago between India and Norway, under which the parents named Anurup's brother Arunabhash Bhattacharya as the primary caretaker of the two children.