Targeted for my political ties: UP man booked for spreading ‘false info’ about COVID situation

·3-min read

Noida (UP), May 19 (PTI) A villager in Uttar Pradesh's Jewar who has been booked for allegedly sharing false information related to COVID-19 testing in his village on Wednesday claimed he was being targeted over his political affiliation.

An FIR was lodged against Yogesh Talan, the husband of former village head of Mewla Gopalgarh, under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, among others, on Monday night at the Jewar Police Station, according to police officials.

The village had come under the spotlight last week after media reports showed some of its ill residents on cots under Neem trees with glucose drips hanging from its branches and syringes strewn around the ground amid COVID-19 outbreak in the region.

“I am being targeted because I am a Congress member. The government is rewarding me for my truth that I shared with the media when I was asked about the condition in my village,” Talan told PTI over the phone.

Talan, who lost a family member four days ago, has alleged lack of COVID-19 testing in the village and claimed several residents showed coronavirus-like symptoms. However, the district administration had in a statement refuted his claims, saying the patients shown in pictures were offered support by government officials but they chose to not get admitted to hospitals and on May 17 an FIR was lodged against Talan following a complaint by a local primary healthcare centre in-charge.

Talan said there were no tests done in his village till May 12 and 77 people tested on May 17. The village has 2,100 voters and an estimated population between 4,000 and 5,000, he added.

According to official records accessed by PTI, 112 people were tested in the village on May 13 while 154 tested on May 17 with none resulting in a positive. However, Talan claimed, “I am aware of the tests done on May 17 but I cannot find any person in my village who had got tested on May 13. If the administration is claiming about the test, they may as well share details of people who got tested so the truth comes out in the public domain.” When contacted, the phone number of the PHC in-charge on whose complaint the FIR was lodged against Talan was switched off on Wednesday night.

However, a local police official told PTI, “The FIR has been lodged against Talan and searches carried out at his village but he was not found there. Further proceedings are underway.” Talan, who spoke to PTI from an undisclosed location, claimed he was yet to receive any written communication from the police regarding the FIR and whatever information he has got so far has been through the media.

Besides the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, Talan has been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (unlawfully or negligently spreading infection of any disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), according to the police. PTI KIS RHL

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