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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightIndian government...

Indian government slams German child services, calls baby's stay "infringement of rights"

ariha shah

New Delhi: The Indian government has asked the German authorities to send Ariha Shah, the 27-month-old baby, back to India at the earliest. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the child's stay in German foster care is an "infringement of her social, cultural, and linguistic rights."

The child has been in the custody of Germany's Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt) since September 2021.

59 Members of Parliament from 19 parties have written to the German Ambassador Dr Philipp Ackermann today seeking Ariha's repatriation after her mother appealed for intervention. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde also wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday.

When asked about the matter today at a press briefing, Bagchi said: "We would like to reiterate that Ariha Shah is an Indian national and her nationality and socio-cultural background is the most important determinant of where her foster care is to be provided. We urge German authorities to do all that is necessary to send Ariha to India at the earliest, which is also her inalienable right as an Indian national. We remain committed to ensuring the return of Ariha Shah to India," reported PTI.

According to Ariha's mother Dhara Shah, she and her husband took the baby to a doctor in September 2021 after they spotted blood in her diaper. They took the baby back home after the doctor gave the all-clear. However, when they went back for a follow-up checkup, the doctor handed the baby over to German Child Services and accused the parents of sexually abusing the baby.

The child was seven months old at the time.

After an investigation, the case was closed in February 2022. The same hospital declared that the child was not sexually abused. However, an order to terminate the couple's parental custody was passed. The Jugendamt (the agency to promote the welfare of children) said the parents are incapable of looking after the child and she will be better off in foster care.

Last week, the couple found out that the child was put in an institution for children with special needs.

"We are dismayed to learn that the child was abruptly shifted away from her current foster parent to a specialised foster care arrangement. The manner in which the shift was carried out is a matter of concern. We and the parents believe that this rapid change is not in the child's best interest and could have far-reaching consequences for her emotional and mental development," said Bagchi.

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TAGS:ariha shahIndian baby in german foster care
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