External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Monday said he has raised the issue of an Indian baby living in foster care in Berlin in his discussions with visiting German counterpart Annalena Baerbock. The German authorities had taken one-and-a-half year old Ariha Shah under their care, alleging sexual harrasment by the child's parents.
"A specific issue, which came up... This relates to a child called Ariha Shah. We have concerns that the child should be in a linguistic, religious, cultural and social environment. This is her right," Jaishankar said addressing a joint press conference with Baerbock.
The couple has sought Indian government's help in repatriation of their child who has been living in a foster care in Germany for over 14 months. They said Ariha's grandmother hurt her by accident in September last year after which they took her to the hospital, where the German authorities accused them of sex assault, and took away the child under Child Protection Rights.
Ariha then was only seven months-old, according to the parents. The Berlin-based couple informed that a criminal probe was closed without charges in February, but they still haven't got their child back. To add on to their woes, Berlin Child Services has filed a civil custody case calling for termination of their parental rights.
"Our embassy is pursuing the matter with German authorities," Jaishankar said. Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs said that they have been "intervening and engaging with the German authorities on the "sensitive" matter for over a year, since September 2021".
Philipp Ackermann, the German ambassador to India, said last week that they are aware of the gravity of the issue, and have taken note of the Indian government's concern in the case.