Norway court jails Indian couple for child abuse

Updated 04 December 2012
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Norway court jails Indian couple for child abuse

OSLO: A Norwegian court said yesterday it has sentenced an Indian couple to prison for physically abusing their then six-year-old son in a case that has drawn widespread attention in India.
The couple, who were living in Norway for professional reasons at the time, were found guilty of burning their son, today aged seven, with a hot spoon and the father was also found guilty of lashing him several times with a belt.
The father and mother were sentenced to prison for 18 and 15 months respectively.
The Oslo district court refused to disclose their names, but Indian media have identified the parents as Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni, a computer engineer, and his wife Anupama.
Social services were alerted after the boy refused to get off a school bus in March after wetting himself.
He said he was afraid his parents would “burn my tongue,” as they had threatened to do on previous occasions.
Police then opened an inquiry that uncovered the abuse.
The boy said he was deliberately burned with a hot spoon on his leg in January, causing a three-by-five centimeter (one-by-two inch) scar. His parents claimed it was an accident.
The child also told judges his father had hit him on the back with a belt on several occasions, which the father denied.
The sentence was in line with the prosecution’s request.
According to Norwegian media reports, the parents plan to appeal the sentence. The boy and his younger brother currently live with their grandparents in India.
The case made headlines in India, where a number of media outlets had incorrectly claimed the parents risked prison in Norway for threatening to send the boy back to India if his incontinence continued.
It followed another highly publicized case that saw Norwegian social services remove two young Indian children from their parents’ custody due to shortcomings in their care.
The family blamed it on cultural differences toward childcare, and the case escalated into a diplomatic row with the intervention of Indian government officials.
The children were finally handed over to their uncle in India and Indian social services have since ruled that they should be returned to the mother’s custody.

 


Drought adds to Afghanistan woes

Afghan children fill canisters with water from a water pump outside their temporary homes on the outskirts of Jalalabad. Files/AFP
Updated 27 May 2018
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Drought adds to Afghanistan woes

  • Intensified conflict in many parts of the country is worsening the effects of the drought
  • More than $115 million was required for a six-month response in the 20 provinces

KABUL: Rain and snow are as important as peace for Afghanistan. But the landlocked and mountainous country this year had its lowest rainfall for years, causing widespread drought and leaving 2 million people facing food shortages.
Livestock in many areas have died, and some farmers have been forced to send their herds for pasture to neighboring Turkmenistan.
Thousands of people have left their homes already due to water shortages, with fears that the situation will worsen in autumn, Afghan and UN officials say.
Twenty of the country’s 34 provinces, including the northern region — Afghanistan’s food basket — have been badly affected, they said.
The aid-reliant Afghan government has begun delivering aid to affected areas. But assistance will be needed for months to come. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said rapid action was needed to enable delivery of food and water. More than $115 million was required for a six-month response in the 20 provinces, it said.
“Drought is gripping large parts of Afghanistan, with more than 2 million people expected to become severely food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance for survival,” OCHA said.
“A quick, comprehensive response will enable the delivery of food and water to the rural villages and help to avoid the migration of families to cities where they risk losing all of their few possessions, and where they lack shelter and access to health facilities and schools for their children,” it said.
Water points and fountains across the country have dried up, and the lack of rain and snow melt has made rivers run low or dry up, the organization said.
About 1.5 million goats and sheep in northeast regions are struggling to find food and more than half of the 1,000 villages in the province are suffering from lack of water.
Intensified conflict in many parts of the country is worsening the effects of the drought, limiting communities’ access to markets.
In Helmand, village elders reportedly need to obtain special approval from the armed groups to access markets in areas under government control.
In Uruzgan province, people often cannot access the main market in Tirinkot due to fighting and insecurity on the roads to the provincial capital. Following a temporary closure of the road to neighboring Kandahar province in April due to fighting, wheat prices went up by 50 percent in the city, and the price for fresh produce quadrupled within days.
Engineer Mohammed Sediq Hassani, chief of planning in the government’s Disaster Management Department, said the drought has directly and indirectly taken the lives of dozens of people.

“The impact of drought in terms of taking lives is intangible and slow. An indirect impact can be the recent floods, which claimed the lives of 73 people. Floods happen when there is a drought because of the change of the climate,” he told Arab News.