Opposition leaders and the resident doctors’ association at the Aligarh Muslim University on Wednesday welcomed the release of Uttar Pradesh doctor Kafeel Khan from detention, PTI reported.
Khan was released from a jail in Mathura late on Tuesday after the Allahabad High Court revoked the charges against him under the National Security Act. The court had called his detention illegal and said a speech by him against the Citizenship Amendment Act at the Aligarh Muslim University in December had not promoted hatred or violence. The Adityanath government had booked him under the stringent NSA law, claiming the speech was inflammatory and provocative.
Hamza Malik, president of the resident doctors’ association at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, said Khan’s release was a “victory of justice”. Malik said the Gorakhpur doctor has always stood for humanitarian values, maintained high standards in his profession and never took part in divisive activities. “Instead of incarcerating Khan, the government should have availed his services at a time when health amenities in the state badly needed cooperation from the medical fraternity,” Malik added.
Former Aligarh Muslim University students’ union chief Faizul Hasan also welcomed Khan’s release. “Kafeel [Khan] had exercised his democratic right to protest, but had never resorted to undemocratic means, and always championed the spirit of unity and communal harmony,” Hasan said.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav expressed happiness over Khan’s release and hoped party leader Azam Khan is also released soon, adding that the injustice and atrocities of those in power do not last long. Azam Khan is in jail in connection with various cases, including that of land grabbing filed against him in Rampur.
All India Students’ Association National president N Sai Balaji said people’s unity brought justice to Kafeel Khan. “Freedom for Dr Kafeel,” he tweeted. “People’s unity won and brought justice to people’s doctor! Revolutionary salutes to Dr Kafeel Khan! Dr Kafeel Khan was finally released from ‘illegal’ detention. The Allahabad High Court said: His speech calls for national unity and integrity.”
The Uttar Pradesh Congress also took to Twitter and said that “justice has won” with Khan’s release.
After his release, Khan said the Uttar Pradesh government was like a “stubborn child” and could frame him in yet another case.
On Tuesday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra praised the Allahabad High Court’s decision and said that she hoped the Uttar Pradesh government would release him “without any malice”.
Khan has been in custody since January 29 and Tuesday’s court order came after the doctor’s mother, Nuzhat Parween, filed a habeas corpus plea, saying her son was detained illegally. Khan was granted bail earlier 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.
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.