The Uttar Pradesh Police on Sunday filed a case against the owner of a cancer hospital in Meerut for publishing an advertisement stating that Muslim patients and their attendants would only be admitted if they tested negative for the coronavirus, PTI reported.

In the 11-point advertisement in a Hindi daily on April 17, Valentis Cancer Hospital blamed the religious congregation in Delhi Nizamuddin for the spread of the coronavirus in the country. It also chastised 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 read. “But this is in larger public interest and also in the interest of Muslim brothers.”

A day later, the hospital issued a clarification in a second advertisement. “A wrong message was published by mistake,” it said. “We deny that, and regret and apologise for the same.”

Police filed a case against hospital owner Amit Jain for “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings” Incholi Station House Officer Brijesh Kumar Singh said. The first information report was registered on the complaint of a sub-inspector level officer.

Jain, however, claimed that the advertisement was an appeal to follow government guidelines to be safe, reported ANI. “It has nothing to do with religion,” he added. “We apologise as some word hurt people’s sentiments. The hospital never intended to hurt anyone’s sentiments.”

He also alleged a conspiracy in the matter, claiming that a “wrong message” was sent due to “typing errors or misprints”, according to The Indian Express. “The hospital does not discriminate against a particular community,” he added, claiming 70% of the patients there were Muslims. “Due to typing errors or misprints, it appears that a wrong message was sent, for which we issued an apology. Our aim is to promote testing, since some people of a community are spreading misinformation, deterring others from cooperating or getting tested. We want the best interests of society.”

Uttar Pradesh has reported 1,084 coronavirus cases and 17 deaths, according to the Union health ministry.

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