An Indian American couple were reunited with their infant son in New Jersey Sept. 1, after an eight-month grueling U.S. court ordeal, in which they were accused of child abuse. Ashish and Vidisha Pareek had moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, in August 2015, so that Ashish could take up an assignment with TCS. Their son, Ashvid, was born two months later.
Ashvid was born on October 21 last year in New Jersey, where Ashish had been sent by his company. The baby reportedly fell accidentally and suffered head injuries on December 23.
Jersey City’s Department of Child Protection and Permanency stepped in and took Ashvid a week later, after a court determined the baby was suffering from Shaken Baby Syndrome. Ashvid was then placed in foster care. Shaken Baby Syndrome refers to child abuse resulting in head injuries from severe shaking or throwing the baby.
Ashish and Vidisha Pareek told authorities that Ashvid’s head injuries were the result of his accidental fall, but they were nevertheless accused of neglect. At issue was a clot on Ashvid’s retina, which DCPP concluded was the result of Ashvid being thrown.
Ashish had then sought help from external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and also appealed to chief minister Vasundhara Raje, the Prime Minister’s Office and governor Kalyan Singh. After a month, a US court gave the custody of the child to an Indian family living in New Jersey. Many months of pleading and fight have finally resulted in the child being returned to his parents.
Ten-month-old Ashvid’s first visit to India has triggered celebrations in his family, especially after US authorities separated him from his parents Ashish and Vidisha Pareek for seven months over alleged abuse.
“I cannot express my feelings in words. After all that happened in the last seven months, I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped us,” Vidisha said, adding that Ashish would join them after completing paper work in the US.