The Lucknow police have lodged a case against Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor for negligence in following instructions listed by the government to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, The Hindustan Times reported on Saturday. The “Baby Doll” singer tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus on Friday. Kapoor did not quarantine herself after returning from London and instead attended several parties.
Lucknow Commissioner of Police Sujeet Pandey said a first information report was lodged at Sarojini Nagar police station under several sections of the Indian Penal Code after a complaint was filed by the Chief Medical Officer of Lucknow. Pandey said two more cases are likely to be registered against the Bollywood celebrity at Hazratganj and Gomti Nagar police stations for attending three different parties in the city on different days, where she came into contact with around 350 to 400 people, including several politicians, bureaucrats and other senior officials.
An unidentified police official told The Hindustan Times that the singer has been charged for offences ranging from the disobedience of orders issued by a public servant to committing a negligent act that is likely to spread an infection or disease which is dangerous to life.
Citing section 269 of the Indian Penal Code, the official added that Kapoor can be fined as well as be imprisoned for as long as six months for negligence. She is also liable to imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years under section 270 for spreading the deadly virus, he added.
Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, condemned the police action and said one foolishness was matched by another. “As ever, police overreach instead of doing what it should, uphold rule of law in an unbiased manner,” Ganguly said on Twitter. “Authorities should not criminalise Covid19 India patients. It will only drive people to hide their symptoms. Inform, educate, public instead.”
The singer has been admitted to the King George’s Medical University Hospital in Lucknow. Kapoor claimed that she was scanned at the Lucknow airport “as per normal procedure” 10 days ago when she returned from the United Kingdom and that the symptoms developed only four days ago.
Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, her son Dushyant Singh, and some other top Uttar Pradesh government officials were among the people who had met Kapoor. Raje announced on Friday evening that she and her son were quarantining themselves and taking all precautions.
Dushyant Singh was among MPs from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan who met President Ram Nath Kovind a few days ago. He also attended a parliamentary panel meeting on transport, tourism and culture attended by around 20 MPs and the BJP’s parliamentary panel meeting during the past week. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien, Apna Dal MP Anupriya Patel and BJP MP Varun Gandhi, who all came in contact with Singh during these parliamentary events, have also announced that they are in self-isolation.
Kapoor was one of four cases reported from Uttar Pradesh on Friday. The number of cases in India rose by 63 on Friday, registering the largest single-day spike.