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Doctor Kafeel Khan released from Mathura jail, to stay away from U.P. due to security reasons

Dr. Kafeel Khan after his release on September 1, 2020. Photo: Special Arrangement  

"I will not bend," said Gorakhpur doctor Kafeel Khan soon after he stepped out of the Mathura jail late on Tuesday following the revocation of the charges under the National Security Act against him by the Allahabad High Court. 

Also read: Hope U.P. government will release Kafeel Khan without any ‘malice’: Priyanka Gandhi

Talking to The Hindu over phone, Dr. Khan said the Uttar Pradesh government had targetted him and planned to keep him inside jail indefinitely for asking questions about the 2017 oxygen tragedy in the BRD hospital in Gorakhpur. He said he was paying the price for "raising voice of 70 kids who died in the oxygen tragedy."

"All I asked is if Doctor Kafeel is not the murderer, then who is," said Dr. Kafeel. Soon after his release, Dr. Khan was driven by his family to Rajasthan where he is expected to spend the next few weeks. His family says they want him to avoid Uttar Pradesh for the time being due to safety reasons and fear of being falsely implicated.

"When I was arrested in Mumbai, I had said even then I would be killed in an encounter. For this reason, we will spend some days outside Uttar Pradesh," he said. 

Also read: Decide Kafeel Khan case soon, Supreme Court tells Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday set aside the National Security Act charges against Dr. Khan terming it illegal and directed the Uttar Pradesh government to forthwith release him from jail.  A Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh, hearing a habeus corpus writ filed by Dr. Khan's mother, also declared the extension of the period of his detention under NSA as "illegal."

The BJP government had in February slapped the NSA on Dr. Khan for allegedly making inflammatory and provocative comments during a speech by him against the Citizenship Amendment Act at the Aligarh Muslim University in 2019 December. Dr. Khan was booked under the stringent law on the day he was expected to be released on bail from Mathura jail where he was lodged after his arrest in the case on January 29.

 

Dr. Khan says he was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police only because the second inquiry against him in the Gorakhpur hospital case had cleared him on January 23. "And when did I give the speech [on CAA at AMU]? On December 12, 2019. They did not detain me then. When the second inquiry also cleared me, they had no other option but to frame me with baseless charges," said Dr. Khan. 

Dr. Khan was accused of provoking the religious sentiments of Muslim students of the AMU while he was addressing a gathering of around 600 students there on December 12 on the CAA.

However, the Allahabad High Court noted that a "complete reading of the speechprima facie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence" and also does not threaten peace and tranquility of the Aligarh.

"The address gives a call for national integrity and unity among the citizens.The speech also deprecates any kind of violence," the court observed. It appears that the District Magistrate, Aligarh had "selective reading and selective mention for fewphrases from the speech ignoring its true intent," the court said.

Dr. Khan acknowledged the court's observations and said: "Not an iota of my speech mentions any hatred or violence. I have spoken about the unity and peaceful protest as a democracy." Dr. Khan said he would soon tour the flood-hit areas of Assam, Kerala and Bihar and hold free medical camps for the poor, while also volunteering for research against COVID-19.

He claims the Uttar Pradesh government also wanted to keep him behind bars as they knew he would speak out openly on the way it was handling COVID-19.

"The health system in Uttar Pradesh is broken. They know I speak on health issues,  that is one of the reasons why they want to keep my mouth shut," he said. "I think they wanted to keep me in jail till 2022," Dr. Khan said.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 8:05:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kafeel-khan-released-from-mathura-jail/article32500347.ece

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