Sagarika Bhattacharya, whose birth name is Sagarika Chakraborty, was born on Thursday, 4 November 1982 (age 41 years; as of 2023) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio. She grew up in Kolkata. Sagarika graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) degree (2002-2005) from the University of Calcutta in Kolkata. She pursued a master’s degree in computer software engineering at St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous) in Kolkata. She earned a master’s degree (2005-2007) in business administration and management (general) from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management (IISWBM), Kolkata. Sagarika studied Master of Computer Application (2015-2018) at St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her mother’s name is Shikha, and her father’s name is Manatosh.
She has three brothers, Subhadip Chakraborty, Subhodip Chakroborty, and Sourav Chakraborty.
Husband & Children
Sagarika got married to Anurup Bhattacharya, a geophysicist, and IT specialist, in December 2007.
She has two children, a son, Abhigyan (b. 2008) (age 16 years; as of 2023), and a daughter, Aishwarya (b. 2010) (age 14 years; as of 2023).
The couple is now separated.
Sagarika Chakraborty follows Hinduism.
She belongs to a Bengali Brahmin family.
Sagarika Chakraborty worked as a software developer at ‘Software Sales and Development’ from July 2018 to November 2018 in Kolkata. In February 2019, she joined ‘Microbase Infotech Pvt. Ltd.’ as a software developer in West Bengal and worked till February 2020. She worked as a software engineer at ‘Saha Softech’ from June 2020 to June 2021. Sagarika was employed as a software developer at ‘Lee & Nee Software (Exports) Ltd’ from July 2021 to November 2021 in Kolkata. In November 2021, she joined ‘Chetu,’ a US-based software development company, in Noida, Uttar Pradesh as a full-stack developer.
In January 2019, Sagarika collaborated with ‘Vishwakarma Publications,’ a book publishing company in Pune, Maharashtra, as an author.
Norwegian Child Custody Case
Marriage and the First Trip Overseas
In 2007, Sagarika Chakraborty wed geophysicist Anurup Bhattacharya and relocated to Norway. The following year, the couple welcomed their first child, Abhigyaan, who displayed symptoms of autism early on. As a result, in 2010, Abhigyaan was enrolled in a specialized family kindergarten program to receive appropriate care, particularly since Sagarika was expecting their second child, Aishwarya, around the same time.
I had no idea what they were thinking and planning. Neither me nor my husband were expecting this consequence. We were never informed that there was any problem with us and that the children could be taken away by the CWS. Both of us knew about the [Marte Meo] counseling and observation part and we had openly agreed to it for the sake of our son. But I remember very clearly that when I did request a cancellation or a rescheduling of the home visits, I was told that this would not be possible. Even on days when I wasn’t feeling well, they insisted on coming. I remember being extremely uncomfortable on such occasions and I wanted to be alone with the baby, wanting to rest when the baby slept, but they sat there through everything, just sat there and observed everything, constantly writing down things in their files. On some days, I felt awful, I didn’t know what to do.”
Away from Children
In 2011, a tragic event occurred when the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, commonly known as Barnevernet or “child protection”, removed both Aishwarya and Abhigyaan from their parents’ care and placed them in a foster home until they reached 18 years of age.
According to Barnevernet, the couple had been under surveillance for several months due to allegations of “inappropriate parenting”.
“On 9 May 2011, two days before the CWS took my children away, I went to the health station for my daughter’s vaccinations. She got injections on both legs and was in pain and had developed fever. I was not able to sleep those two nights. My husband was also very tired. I still went to the kindergarten for the sake of of my son and I thought that when I get him back from the kindergarten, then the whole family can relax. At this time, the CWS people again insisted on coming home. I was very stressd due to the lack of sleep and didn’t want any one at home and tried to tell them about the vaccinations, the pain, the fever, and our sleepless nights. They insisted on coming. I started to prepare breakfast and they started some questions about household duties and who does what. I told them that this was not the right time for them to ask us questions, we hadn’t slept and needed to finish the household tasks. The officer then took my daughter out of the house saying you are tired, we will take your daughter for a walk outside. While we completed our work we waited for the child to be brought back. At this time, after about an hour, we were told that our children have been taken to a care home and we will not be allowed to see them. [Pause] ……………….. I don’t have words………………I cannot tell you…………..I cannot explain what I felt……..I remember I was crying, hysterical, shouting……I asked how they could do such a thing………..But I was not heard. Later, I heard that they had recorded my behavior as hysterical and taken that as further proof of my unsuitability as a mother. Tell me…..how would you react if your children are taken away from you?”
The accusations made against the couple included sharing a bed with their children, hand-feeding (deemed as force-feeding by Norwegian authorities), and administering corporal punishment (Sagarika reportedly slapped the children on one occasion). Although these practices may be considered acceptable in Indian culture, they were deemed unacceptable by Norwegian authorities.
After my daughter was born, me and my husband were sleeping in two different rooms. My husband used to sleep with my son and I used to sleep with my daughter. You know, little babies keep getting up in the night to feed so we thought that this is the best for all of us. I think now that the CWS thought it was wrong for us to do this. That it was wrong for me to sleep with my baby. I just cannot understand why they would think that. Many times, I could see them frowning at me, but they never said anything. Like when I was preparing food, I could see they did not approve of what I was cooking, and when I was feeding the children also, I think they made many notes about that. I know later they did say that I used to feed the children with my hand, and I think they said that is wrong. I think they found faults with most of the things I did. As a child, my son did not play with many toys, and when he was a baby and I used to be cooking, I used to let him play with the utensils in the kitchen. This is something we all do in our families. I think this also became a point of complaint about me, they felt a child should play with toys and not kitchen utensils. I did sometimes get angry with him and would threaten him by raising my hand, but that was only a threat. I would raise my voice only when there was something unsafe like a hot surface. I would want to prevent him from getting hurt. I think they put me down as an abusive mother, and I cannot understand how they came to that conclusion.
It is worth mentioning that Norway has very stringent laws concerning the raising of children, and these laws are enforced uniformly, irrespective of cultural variances.
A Diplomatic Row
Subsequently, a legal battle ensued for over a year as Sagarika fought for custody of her children. Norwegian authorities contended that she was “mentally unfit” to care for her children, citing her lack of organization and punctuality despite her being in her late twenties at the time. Some individuals even referred to the situation as a “state-sponsored kidnapping”. The issue at hand was that not only did Barnevernet display a lack of cultural sensitivity toward Indian parenting practices, but they also appeared to be personally attacking the mother in order to bolster their case.
As media coverage of the matter intensified, diplomatic pressure began to mount. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna met with his Norwegian counterpart in Oslo in an attempt to reach a resolution. After lengthy negotiations, it was ultimately decided that custody of the children would be granted to their paternal uncle, Arunabhas Bhattacharya, a 27-year-old dentist residing in India.
Another Battle for Custody
The kids were handed over to their uncle and grandfather in Kulti, near Asansol, West Bengal. While this was a positive development, the custody battle was far from over. The protracted conflict with Norwegian authorities had taken a toll on Sagarika and Anurup’s marriage. Sagarika now faced a legal battle for custody of her children in India.
She appealed to the Burdwan Child Welfare Committee for custody of her children, and while the committee ruled in her favor, the police did not enforce the decision, resulting in the children remaining with their uncle and grandfather. In December 2012, Sagarika appealed to the Calcutta High Court.
In January 2013, Justice Dipankar Dutta issued a ruling granting custody of the two children to Sagarika while allowing their uncle and grandfather visitation rights.
Sagarika’s husband, the father of her children, remained in Norway and has not visited Sagarika or their children since they were taken away by the Norwegian Child Welfare Services. Sagarika herself has been subjected to numerous psychiatric and psychological evaluations by government-appointed experts to ensure her mental well-being and ability to adequately care for her children. However, she was never found to be lacking in any way.
Actor: Shah Rukh Khan
TV Show: Koffee with Karan
Singer: Arijit Singh
- In 2022, Sagarika Chakraborty’s autobiography, “The Journey Of A Mother” was published which also inspired a movie that showed Sagarika’s case. It was released in 2023 and starred Rani Mukerji as Sagarika Chakraborty and Anirban Bhattacharya as her husband, Anurup Bhattacharya.
“I am happy and excited that this journey of mine has been mine has been made into a movie. I hope it will inspire many more parents whose children have been taken away by Barnevernet, to fight back,” Sagarika said.
- Due to the similarities with the Bhattacharyas’ case, the ongoing struggle of Bhavesh and Dhara Shah in Germany to regain custody of their child resulted in the hashtag #BoycottGermany gaining popularity in India after the trailer was released.
- Ever since she has written her life story, she has been a speaker at many literary festivals and events.
- She was also nominated for the Women Author Awards by JK Paper and Times of India.
- She was also invited to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (India NCPCR) under GOI and met the chairperson of NCPCR Mr. Priyank Kanoongo.
- Many fake accounts have been made after Sagarika’s story got into the media. She has previously complained about these accounts using her profile picture.
- Sagarika likes to travel a lot with her friends and often shares pictures on social media.
- She is health conscious and often shares her workout pictures on social media.
- Sagarika follows a non-vegetarian diet.