Dr. Kafeel Khan to be released immediately, detention illegal: HC
In a major relief for Dr. Kafeel Khan, the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday ordered that his detention under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) was illegal, directing the Yogi Adityanath-led government to release him immediately. Dr. Khan had invited the government's ire after he delivered a speech at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) late last year against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Dr. Khan tried to disrupt communal harmony, claimed FIR
Dr. Khan was one of the most vocal critics of CAA, which states that persecuted non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh will be given Indian citizenship if they arrive here before December 31, 2014. In the FIR against him, it was alleged that Dr. Khan tried to disturb the communal harmony. Subsequently, he was booked in December last year.
Jailed Khan wrote to PM, offered help in coronavirus battle
In fact, from inside the jail, Dr. Khan had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March urging him to free him so that he could aid in India's battle against coronavirus. In a two-page letter, he suggested ways to tackle the pandemic, which was in early stages at the time. He told the PM that India should train healthcare officials extensively.
We should curb rumors, mobilize resources: Dr. Khan told PM
"We should increase the testing strength (1 in each district), isolation wards (1,000 in each districts), opening of new ICUs, extensive training of the doctors/paramedics, support groups including AYUSH and private sectors, curb the rumors, avoid unscientific views and mobilize all resources," he had written.
Dr. Khan's mother approached HC against his "illegal detention"
Evidently, his letter didn't achieve the purpose and he remained imprisoned. In mid-August, the state government, run by BJP's Yogi Adityanath, extended his detention for another three months, prompting his mother to file a habeas corpus petition in Allahabad HC. She said her son was detained illegally. Last month, a bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Samit Gopal reserved the judgment.
Granting relief, HC said Dr. Khan's speech doesn't incite violence
In its order today, the bench said a complete reading of the speech implies that no attempts were made to promote hate or violence. "It also nowhere threatens peace and tranquility of the city of Aligarh. It appears that the District Magistrate had selective reading and selective mention for few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent," HC noted.
NSA allows authorities to detain individuals who threaten "peace, security"
It's pertinent to note that Dr. Khan was granted bail in this matter by CJM on February 10, but he was booked under NSA by the Aligarh District Magistrate, reports LiveLaw. The NSA lets authorities to jail individuals for up to 12 months if they suspect them to be a threat to security and peace. Dr. Khan's detention under NSA sparked outrage against Adityanath.
Dr. Khan was blamed for Gorakhpur tragedy, later got clean-chit
To recall, Dr. Khan jumped to national headlines after he was suspended over the deaths of over 60 children at a government hospital in Gorakhpur, the citadel of Adityanath, due to a shortage of oxygen cylinders. However, in 2019, a state government report absolved him, saying that he did his best to avert the tragedy. Back then, he said he was made a scapegoat.