Parents of an Indian child in German child rights' custody landed in Mumbai on Thursday to meet Indian authorities in a bid to expedite the process of getting their daughter's custody from the German government.
Their three-year-old daughter has been in the custody of German authorities for the last one-and-a-half years.
At a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday, the girl's mother said, "In September 2021, our daughter was taken away by German child services. She accidentally hurt her private part and we took her to a doctor. The doctors sent us back saying that she was fine. Then we went for a follow-up check. My daughter was again said to be fine, but the doctors, this time, called child services and gave them my daughter's custody. And we later learned that because of the nature of her injury, they suspected sexual abuse."
"In the interest of clarification, we even gave our DNA samples. After the DNA test, police investigation, and medical reports, the case of sexual abuse was closed in February 2022. And in December 2021, an expert from the same hospital ruled out any suspicion of sexual abuse," she added.
The child's father said, "After all this, we thought that our girl would be back with us. But the German child services opened a case against us for the termination of custody. We went to court for that. The court ordered that we have to make a parental ability report. We got the 150-page parental ability test report after a year during which the psychologist spoke to us for only 12 hours."
"We got the next trial date after receiving the report. The report suggested the bond between the parents and the child is very strong and the child should return to the parents but the parents don't know how to bring up the child. For that, we should stay in a family house till the girl attains the age of 3 to 6 years. The girl of that age would be able to decide whether she wants to stay with her parents or in foster care," he added.
Her father said, "They reasoned that we let her eat as much as they want, let her play like she wants, and they don't discipline her enough. They also mentioned that the child has an attachment disorder. They alleged that the attachment disorder was because the child wanted to do things by herself."
"We asked them to let the child come to India since the court case was going to last long. They said that they cannot send her to India as she does not know any Indian language, which can result in trauma. We have been asking them to let us teach her at least one Indian language. A teacher, a volunteer or a mentor is also not needed. Our friends and family could easily do that. There were many Indians in Germany, who were ready to volunteer to teach her Hindi or Gujarati but they refused," he added.
He further stated, "Like many others, I was also laid off from the IT company that I worked for. I don't know how we are going to manage. We are already in INR 30-40 lakhs in debt."
The mother said, "We are allowed to meet the girl for an hour every month under the supervision of a social worker. She reported positively about our attachment with the girl. We demanded more visits but they refused saying that it could exhaust the girl. But in September 2022, we were allowed to meet her twice a month. But German child services are not following the court order as well. It was after the Indian government intervened in December 2022 that they started obeying the court order."
"We have been saying that she is an Indian baby, she must know an Indian language and acquire cultural knowledge. We also demanded consular access for her. Criminals also get consular access but our daughter is being treated worse than a criminal," she added.
"We want to bring her to India as we have not got a fair trial. There are cultural differences which are difficult to explain to the German authorities. We request PM Modi to help us bring her back to India. We also request Foreign minister S Jaishankar to look into this problem and help us bring our child back. Matters will be resolved if PM Modi takes matters into his hands," she added.
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