The District administration of Kanpur, UP confirmed that 57 girls in state-run children’s shelter home have tested positive for COVID-19.
Of all those girls tested for COVID-19, 57 were found positive, seven girls were found pregnant of which five were COVID-19 positive. While one was HIV+ and one had hepatitis. Speculation and rumours of wrong-doing in the shelter home were squashed by the District administration clarifying that they were recorded as pregnant on their arrival at the Rajkiya Balika Grah in Swarup Nagar.
District Magistrate Kanpur Brahma Deo Ram Tiwari said, Five girls among the positive cases were found to be pregnant adding that the girls were already pregnant at the time they were brought to the shelter.
Mr. Tiwari in his statement said, “These girls were brought from different districts on the directions of the CWC (Child Welfare Committees) under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
The girls residing in the shelter home came from Agra, Etah, Firozabad, Kannauj, and Kanpur.
Poonam Kapoor, State Women Commission Member said, “They are minors, 16-17 years of age. So they are kept there, and many of these girls were brought under the POSCO Act.”
On the question about how the girls came in contact the virus, Ms. Kapoor presumed that the girls were probably infected when some staff member went to Hallet Hospital in Kanpur, where COVID-19 patients are being treated, with two girls, where they might have come in contact with some COVID-19 positive person.
In her statement, Ms. Kapoor said, “Possibly the staff came in contact with someone infected due to which the infection spread in the Balika Grah.”
In the context of pregnancy of the minors, Ms. Kapoor has ousted the possibility of any misdeed claiming she visited the shelter home every month, and Men were prohibited from going there.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi has criticized the UP government calling the conditions of shelter times inhumane and comparing it to the Muzaffarpur incident. She posted on Facebook, “The case at the shelter home in Muzaffarpur (Bihar) is in front of the country. A similar case also emerged in UP’s Deoria. So, for another such case to emerge shows that in the name of probes, everything is suppressed. But there are many inhuman incidents happening at state-run child shelter homes.
Senior Superintendent of Police Dinesh Kumar P. had has denied these allegations saying, “Many are spreading rumours that these girls got pregnant while at the shelter home, which absolutely isn’t true. This is not a case akin to Muzaffarpur.”
Since the shelter home is sealed, we are unable to investigate the records of the girls. Once it opens we will get that many are spreading rumours that these girls got pregnant while at the shelter home, which absolutely isn’t true. This is not a case akin to Muzaffarpur, of all the girls and who had visited the shelter home in the last two months, said the SSP.
The SSP also informed that the girls found COVID-19 positive are being treated at the Kanpur Medical College and the shelter home is sealed and the staff is quarantined.
Now Kanpur has 400 active cases the second highest in the state. While Noida in the NCR ranks first with 577 cases.
Across Uttar Pradesh, there are nearly 17,000 cases, of which a little over 6,000 are active. The state has recorded 507 deaths linked to the infectious virus.