• Saturday, July 13, 2024

Diaspora

Indian-Australian woman kills self near Bengaluru after children’s custody battle in New South Wales drags

The woman, allegedly distressed, flew to India to meet her parents and train them on handling a August 22 hearing but took the drastic step after learning that it got postponed to November.

Representational Image (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

IN a heart-wrenching incident, a non-resident Indian (NRI) woman allegedly committed suicide in India by jumping into a river after learning that the online hearing related to a battle over custody for her two children, both of whom are Australian citizens, was postponed to November.

The 45-year-old woman, who worked as an information technology professional in Australia, reached the southern Indian city of Bengaluru on August 20 to teach her father on how to deal with the custody battle.

She did not go to her home in Dharwad, located about 523 kilometres from Bengaluru, after reaching the capital of the Karnataka state from Sydney and wrote to her parents that she was ending her life after failing to regain custody of her two teenage children — 17-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter — who are currently in custody of the Australian authorities.

She also accused the New South Wales department of communities and justice in Australia and a section of her neighbours of harassing her.

The woman reportedly took the drastic step by jumping into the Malaprabha river in Belagavi district of Karnataka. Her body was found on August 22.

Her father told the local police that he did not suspect any foul play in his daughter’s death and that she was depressed, particularly over the care of her son who was chronically ill.

“She never came home after her arrival in Bengaluru. She sent a parcel with a letter and travelled by bus to Hubbali…” he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

He also added that his deceased daughter made a legal complaint against the doctors for not providing right treatment to her son after his condition did not improve even after six months after he was hospitalised in Australia three years ago.

The doctors then filed a complaint to child welfare against the mother saying it was improper home care that was causing the boy to suffer. The department of communities and justice took custody of the siblings three years ago and their mother was fighting cases to get their custody back, the father of the deceased told the newspaper.

He said the family wanted to shift to India and admit the children to an international school in India. They decided to apply for the children’s custody in August and preparations were underway. The hearing was scheduled for August 22, he added.

“She decided to travel to meet us to train us in handling the hearing. She wanted to rehearse some aspects to be successful in the hearing. When she arrived in India, she learnt that the August 22 hearing had been postponed to November and she was upset. She felt these things were being done intentionally to avoid granting custody,” the man was quoted as saying by the Express.

The husband of the woman travelled alone to India to carry out the last rites as the children could not travel due to document-related reasons, The Australia Today reported. He said the teenagers were studying in a school of the choice of the Australian authorities since 2021 and the parents had little say in the matter.

When The Australia Today contacted the department of communities and justice, a spokesperson said it is committed to ensuring safety and well-being of children.

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