The Uttar Pradesh government has extended the detention of Dr Kafeel Khan under the National Security Act by three months, PTI reported on Sunday. Khan has been in jail since January 29 for delivering an allegedly provocative speech at a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act on December 10.
Khan was arrested on January 29 and granted bail in the case by a court in Aligarh district on February 10. However, he was not released from the Mathura jail. Instead, the NSA was invoked against him three days later and his detention continued.
On August 12, the Supreme Court asked the Allahabad High Court to decide on a petition related to the release of Dr Khan within 15 days. The bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian was hearing a plea filed by Khan’s mother Nuzhat Perween seeking time-bound hearing by the High Court of her petition.
The extension order came on August 4, PTI reported. “According to the report of the UP advisory council and the report obtained from district magistrate Aligarh, Governor Anandiben Patel using the powers vested in her, directed that the detention of Kafeel Khan be extended by three more months,” the order said. “As a result, Kafeel will remain in jail till November 13, 2020.”
Khan was a paediatrician at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur, when 63 children died in 2017 due to lack of oxygen. He was suspended from his post and jailed for nine months after a criminal case of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty was filed against him. But an Uttar Pradesh government inquiry last year cleared him of all charges and lauded his actions to save lives during the crisis.
However, in October, the Uttar Pradesh government began a new departmental inquiry against Dr Khan for spreading incorrect information about the probe report and for making “anti-government” remarks during his suspension.