LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday issued orders to conduct Covid-19 test of all inmates lodged in women and children shelter homes and observations homes across the state. Meanwhile, a storm raged on in the state’s political circles on the issue of seven girls being found pregnant and 57 testing positive for Covid-19 at a government-run shelter home in Kanpur.
While the opposition parties demanded a probe in the whole matter, the Kanpur district administration stuck to its stand on the issue. Kanpur district probation officer Ajit Kumar claimed that all the girls - victims of sexual assault under POCSO Act — were already pregnant when admitted to the shelter home. These girls were admitted to the home on the recommendation of Child Welfare Committees (CWC) of various districts between November 29, 2019 and June 10, 2020, he explained. The police have already filed charge sheets against the accused in five of these cases while investigation is underway in the other two, said the official. Of the seven girls who are pregnant, five have tested positive.
The opposition parties have accused the government of failing to protect the inmates and called for an impartial probe in the matter. Both, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had tweeted their suspicions over the role of authorities. On Tuesday, BSP chief Mayawati also joined the demand for a probe in the issue. Mayawati tweeted that instead of protecting their honour, the authorities had failed to provide security to women in the state. She asked the CM Adityanath to take cognizance and get a high-level probe conducted into the incident.
Meanwhile, UP govt’s Women and Child Welfare Department has asked all district magistrates to carry out Covid tests of all inmates lodged in shelter homes in their districts. There are over 300 shelter and observation homes with around 5,500 inmates across the state.
Earlier, five samples from all homes were collected and tested. Only one, from the shelter home, tested positive. “This led to further tests in shelter home where 57 inmates tested positive. Hence, now samples
of all the inmates will be tested,” said an official.