Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday praised the Allahabad High Court verdict revoking the National Security Act against Gorakhpur doctor Kafeel Khan and said that she hoped the Uttar Pradesh government would release him “without any malice”. The High Court had asked the state government to release him immediately.
“The Allahabad High Court today ordered the revocation of National Security Act against Dr Kafeel Khan,” Vadra said in a tweet. “I am expecting that the Uttar Pradesh government will release him without any malice. Congratulations to all those justice-loving people who worked for the release of Kafeel Khan and also to the Uttar Pradesh Congress workers.”
Khan has been in custody since January 29 for making allegedly inflammatory remarks during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act at the Aligarh Muslim University in December.
Tuesday’s order came after the doctor’s mother, Nuzhat Parween, filed a habeas corpus plea, saying her son was detained illegally. The division bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh passed the order. “The extension of the period of detention of detenue Dr Kafeel Khan is also declared illegal,” the order said. “A writ in the nature of habeas corpus is hereby issued to release Dr Kafeel Khan, the detenue from State custody forthwith.”
The High Court also found prima facie that Khan’s speech “does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence”. The first information report, filed on December 13, had said that Khan had attempted to vitiate the peaceful ambiance at the university and disturb communal harmony.
Khan was granted bail on February 10, but was not released from Mathura jail. Instead, the NSA was invoked against him three days later and his detention was extended. It was then again extended till November 13.
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 instead lauded his actions to save lives during the crisis.