LUCKNOW: Meerut-based Valentis Cancer hospital, caught in a controversy over issuing a newspaper advertisement denying entry to Muslims without COVID-19 test, tendered an apology on Monday.
The hospital in the advertisement had mentioned that Muslim patients and their attendants would be admitted only if they tested negative for the coronavirus. Meerut police had filed a case against the hospital owner over the issue.
Notably, in the 11-point advertisement, published in a Hindi language daily dated April 17, the Cancer Hospital had referred to the religious congregation in Delhi's Nizamuddin holding it responsible for the spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
It had censured a section of the community for misbehaving with health professionals. “It is due to the ignorance of some Muslim brothers that everyone will have to suffer for some time,” the advertisement had read. “But this is in the larger public interest and also in the interest of Muslim brothers.”
While issuing an apology, the hospital authorities clarified that the ad was a general appeal to all citizens to follow government guidelines to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. They claimed that their intent was neither to target any particular community nor did they intend to give it a religious undertone.
As per the hospital authorities, the ad was merely an appeal for all to stay safe and had nothing to do with religion, the hospital authorities further said, adding, they apologized as some words had hurt people’s sentiments.
The controversial advertisement also said that in case of emergencies, the hospital agreed to carry out immediate COVID-19 tests but at a cost of Rs 4,500 per patient.
A day later, the hospital issued a clarification in another ad saying that it denied, regretted and apologized for the wrong message that was published by mistake.
As per the Incholi Station House Officer, Brijesh Kumar Singh, a case was filed against hospital owner Amit Jain for “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.”