The NHRC has sent notices to the Uttar Pradesh government and the state police chief over reports that 57 minor girls tested positive for COVID-19 at a state-run shelter home in Kanpur, officials said on Monday.
Five of them were pregnant and one HIV positive. The Kanpur district administration on Sunday had clarified that the girls were pregnant at the time they came to the shelter home.
The girls were exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 for some time but there was "delay" in taking them to the hospital for tests, the National Human Rights Commission said quoting reports.
"The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports that 57 minor girls tested positive for the novel coronavirus at a state-run children's shelter home in Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh," the NHRC said in a statement.
The commission has observed that the "contents of the media report, if true, are enough to prima facie believe that the public servants have failed to provide safeguard to the victim girls and apparently were negligent in protecting their right to life, liberty and dignity in the custody of the state".
Accordingly, it has issued a notice to the UP chief secretary, seeking a detailed report, including their health status, medical treatment and counselling, it said.
A notice has also been issued to the UP director general of police for a report regarding the registration of an FIR in this matter and the status of investigation. The response is expected within from weeks from both the authorities, the statement said.