Slug: My son Jishu, is an US citizen. His mother is now holding him incommunicado in India, and is refusing to hand him over to me despite an order from a US court!
On March 19, 2019, I dropped my two-year-old son Jishu — the most beautiful part of my life — at the New Jersey airport with his mother. She claimed to be going to Bangalore for a family function, purportedly a wedding. I was supposed to pick him up in a week in Bangalore.
On March 21, my world came crashing down when I got a call from her. She said she was not coming back to the US as she had got a job in Bangalore and planned her exit step by step.
I went to India a week later to pick up my son, and she refused to hand him over and wanted to negotiate our separation first.
I refused to negotiate with my son all but held hostage. I pleaded that we would discuss everything amicably and come to an agreement on it all, but not with she using my son as a pawn to get what she wanted. Unsurprisingly, my please fell on deaf ears.
I ran pillar to post to try find some legal help, but none was forthcoming. I told the local police that my son was a US citizen and that he had been illegally detained. They asked how can a biological parent be accused up kidnapping their own child. I started reading up on the law and it’s true: India has not yet addressed the modern-day issue of parental abduction, and is often considered a safe haven for people who commit such crimes.
After trying for almost two weeks to make my wife see sense, I gave up and asked to meet my son in a mall. For two days I was allowed to spend time with him there.
Over the course of those two days, I and my wife seemed to be approaching a mutual agreement on how things should go forward, but again, unsurprisingly, she went back on her word on the third day.
Frustrated and tired, that evening I met my son in the mall, and took him to my home without even asking the mother. She called, and I told her he was with me and that I would come to her with him in two days. Meanwhile, she was still withholding his passport and travel papers.
Instead of waiting it out and despite my assurances, she approached the police, in spite of the law not being on her side: The police themselves told me as much.
And yet, suddenly, an FIR was lodged against a father who was just trying to spend some time with his son, and it was within his legal rights to do it!
For the next two days, I and my family went through hell for just wanting to spend time with my own son. I consulted with my lawyer, the US Vice-Consul and the US State Department, and handed over my son after two days.
As soon as I did that, the Indian sub-inspector looking into the matter said the case was closed! In short, the police just acted as judge, jury and executioner over a non-existent law.
I came back to US and sought legal help. I was awarded Jishu’s full legal custody in court, but was informed that while India does not abide by the rulings of foreign courts, neither does it have a law for itself in cases such as mine.
I have started to connect with other parent and found out that there are over 100 open cases of International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) of US citizens. The future of hundreds to kids is destroyed because the Indian government refuses to care. The police case has not been closed, and I am still going through a lot in trying to get a false case closed. I have no idea if law and order even exist in India. Definitely not in Bangalore.
I am setting up this blog to bring my son, whom I lovingly call Jishu (Bengali for Jesus) as he is a Christmas baby. I want to chronicle my fight, and get support from wherever and in whichever form I can.
Looking at the other instances, I don’t know if I can expect any justice in India. But when my son grows up, he will know that his dad loved him and fought for him.
Crime has no gender, but in India, to overcompensate for an incompetent system that is trying to re-invent itself, a woman accuser is always assumed correct. Somehow the blind justice gets partial, and a victim is not presumed innocent till proven guilty.
I have been threatened with false accusations and cases just because the Indian system allows men to be blackmailed and exploited. At this very moment, there is another person fighting a #MenToo case in Mumbai. Only with the support and love from everyone can I continue to fight this. I will wake up every morning to fight to make sure my son has the brightest future, which he deserves.
#bringjishuhomeagain #bringamericanhomeagain #dadloveschildnolessthanmom #dadshaverightstoo