The Indian government has decided to revoke the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) for Wesley and Sini Mathews, the Indian-American adoptive parents of Sherin Mathews, the three-year-old who was found dead in a culvert in Dallas last year.
Overseas Citizenship of India is an immigration status which allows a foreign citizen of Indian origin to come back to India and live and work here permanently.
Anupam Ray, the Consul General of India, speaking to news agency PTI, has said that the OCI cards of some of the couple's relatives and close friends will also be revoked. Ray told PTI that this step was being taken because of the inflamed public opinion in India on this issue and said that the travel of the concerned people was not in public interest.
The first persons to get their OCI cards cancelled were the couple's friends, Manoj and Nissy Abraham, and Wesley's parents.
The Abrahams have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court contesting this move.
Speaking to PTI, Anupam Ray stated that the Abrahams were in close contact with Wesley and his wife before and during three-year-old Sherin's death. He added that had the Abrahams cooperated in the probe and provided information to the investigation agency, more details about the circumstances surrounding the child's death would have emerged.
The Houston Consulate also plans on recommending their names to be added to the 'blacklist' which is maintained by the Government of India.
Wesley and Sini Mathews, who hail from Kerala, had adopted Sherin from an orphanage in Bihar in 2016. The toddler's decomposed body was found in a culvert close to her home on October 22, 2017. Since her body was decomposed, how she died could not be investigated. Wesley had initially told the police that he had punished Sherin and left her standing outside their home at 3 am for not drinking her milk. Later, however, he changed his version claiming she had choked on her milk when he had tried to feed her. He had also admitted that the family had gone out to dinner and left Sherin behind, a day before she died.
Wesley was jailed for capital murder and tampering with evidence and Sini was charged with endangering a child. Their other daughter, aged 4, is currently with Social Services.