Paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, on being released from Mathura jail, said the Uttar Pradesh government, instead of observing “Raj Dharma”, was like a “stubborn child” and could frame him in yet another case, PTI reported. Khan was released from prison on Tuesday midnight after the Allahabad High Court quashed his detention order under the National Security Act.

The court said Khan’s speech at the Aligarh Muslim University during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests did not promote hatred or violence, but was an appeal to national integrity.

“Mathura jail administration informed at around 11 pm that Dr Kafeel will be released, and at around midnight, he was released,” Khan’s lawyer Irfan Ghazi told PTI. On Tuesday, Khan’s family members said they would file a contempt of court plea in the Allahabad High Court if he was not released as per the orders of the court.

“I will always remain thankful to all my well-wishers, who raised their voice for my release,” Khan told PTI after his release. “The administration was not ready for release, but because of the prayers of people, I have been released. In Ramayana, Maharshi Valmiki had said that the Raja should act for ‘Raj Dharma’. In UP the ‘Raja’ is not doing ‘Raj Dharma’ but is doing ‘Baal Hatth’ [being stubborn like a child].”

Khan said the Adityanath-led government can frame him in any other case. He said he now wants to work for the flood-affected victims in Bihar and Assam.

Khan said he was thankful to the judiciary for ruling that his speech at the Aligarh Muslim University did not intend to incite violence, NDTV reported. In a sarcastic vein, he added that he wanted to thank the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police for not killing him in an encounter while taking him from Mumbai to Mathura.

Khan’s brother Adeel Khan claimed that the Mathura jail authorities told the family that they would consider the order of the district magistrate, and that Kafeel Khan would be released only when the magistrate permits it.

Dr Khan’s mother Nuzhat Parveen said she will finally be able to “see, touch and feel” her son. “I am very happy that my son is coming out of the jail. I will be able to see him, touch him and feel him after a long time,” she added. “My son is a good person and he is never against the country or society. Today is my daughter-in-law’s birthday as well, and we are carrying a cake with us as she is in Mathura.”

Nuzhat Parveen had filed a writ petition in court against her son’s detention. The petition argued that Khan was granted bail in February and was supposed to be released on bail, but this was not done. Instead, the National Security Act was slapped on him. Hence, it said, his detention was illegal. The court declared Kafeel Khan’s detention under the Act as illegal.

The judgement

“A complete reading of the speech prima facie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence,” the Allahabad High Court said in its order. “It also no where threatens peace and tranquility of the city of Aligarh. The address gives a call for national integrity and unity among the citizens. The speech also deprecates any kind of violence. It appears that the District Magistrate had selective reading and selective mention for few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent.” The court also said that the “causal link” in the instant case was found to be missing or broken.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi was among those who welcomed the court’s order. She said in a tweet that the Uttar Pradesh government should now release Khan “without any malice”.

Kafeel 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.

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.