FIR filed against unknown persons for circulating ‘false news’ in Kanpur shelter home case

The UP government has now asked authorities to test for Covid-19 across all shelter and observation homes across the state


Following a complaint by Kanpur’s District Probation Officer, Ajeet Kumar, the police registered an FIR at the Swaroop Nagar police station against unidentified persons for allegedly circulating false information about a shelter home in Kanpur where 57 inmates, including five pregnant girls, had tested for Covid-19 last week, The Indian Express reported.



The FIR stated that false news about the shelter was being spread on different platforms, including news channels and social media. It also stated that the identities of the inmates, who are victims of sexual crimes, had been disclosed. It also stated that the same also denigrated the respect of the inmates and cast the administration in a bad light.

In the FIR, Kumar stated that the pregnancy tests of the girls was conducted before they were brought to the shelter home and that there were records of the same. He also mentioned that the details of the ailments the other girls were suffering from were put out into the media, which amount to their disrespect.

The case was filed under various sections of the IPC including 228 A (disclosure of the identity of the victims of certain offences), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 505 (statements conducting to public mischief), Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Act), Section 23 of the POCSO Act and various sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management Act.

Various media reports on the matter had cited that the girls had been showing the symptoms for the infection for a few days, but the local administration informed the state health department about it on June 19, 2020. The Indian Express, quoted the shelter home superintendent as saying that the transmission of the virus only came forth after a random sampling test was conducted on June 12, one inmate was found to be positive. Thereafter, all 171 inmates were tested and 57 of them, aged 15 – 17 years were found to be infected.

The details of the location were provided by Kanpur DM Brahma Dev Tiwari who said that the girls who were pregnant had been referred by the Child Welfare Committees of Agra, Etah, Kannauj, Firozabad and Kanpur under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, adding that the seven girls were pregnant when they came to the shelter home.

In light of this, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had issued a notice to the Rajendra Tiwari, Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh and the Director General of Police, asking for the health status of all the girls and action taken on the matter.

The National Commission of Women, UP had also ssued a notice to the UP administration asking for details about the health status and other details regarding the number of women in the shelter homes and the details of when they were brought there, to be submitted within 24 hours.

Manoj Kumar Rai, Director of the Women Welfare Directorate told The Times of India that against a total capacity of 3,675, currently 3,963 inmates stay huddled at shelter homes in Lucknow. Of these, 20 women and girls at 17 shelter homes, housing victims mostly under the POCSO Act, were pregnant at the time of admission.

Now, the UP government has directed all concerned authorities to conduct the Covid-19 test of all inmates held in women and children shelter homes and observation homes across the state. There are over 300 homes in the state with around 5,500 inmates, The New Indian Express reported.

Journalist assaulted by cops

Ankit Singh, a reporter for a Hindi news channel, TV Khabar, alleged that he was roughed up by the police when he was getting some visuals for his story on the Kanpur shelter home where 57 girls have been found to be COVID-19 positive, The Week reported.

Singh told THE WEEK that he had visited the shelter home in Swaroop Nagar on Sunday but could not get much information as the area had been sealed off. However, when he went to cover the news later that day, the police abused him and beat him up. He said that the police beat him up in such a way that there were no visible injury marks on his body, though he had a severe body ache.

He also alleged that the police snatched his colleague’s phone while he was recording the incident. He told the week that the channel’s chief editor wrote a letter to UP’s Additional Chief Secretary, Awanish Awasthi to demand justice.

The letter read, ““In my last meeting with him, (CM) Yogi Adityanath had said that we must tell him the shortcomings of his government. If we obey the CM’s instructions, will we be beaten up?” the Week reported.

However, the police painted a different picture. Anil Kumar, SP (West) told The Week, “He had gone to the police station to advocate for some personal matter. As physical distance has to be maintained, he was asked not to enter the premises unnecessarily but he started arguing with the personnel there,” adding that if Singh was reporting on the shelter home why did he need to come inside the police station.

The matter is currently under investigation.

Call for inquiry

The Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KSY) and the Centre for Struggling Women (CSW) have called an investigation into the matter of the 57 inmates testing positive at the shelter home in Kanpur. It questioned why the shelter homes were overfull and why the other inmates were not separated when the first case was found positive on June 12.




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