Anuja Jaiswal | TNN | Updated: Sep 1, 2020, 12:47 IST
Dr Kafeel KhanAGRA: The Allahabad high court on Tuesday directed the state government to release Dr Kafeel Khan who was booked under the National Security Act (NSA) in February for allegedly giving a provocative speech against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The court set aside the detention order of February 13 passed by the district magistrate Aligarh, which was confirmed by the state government.
Incidentally, Dr Kafeel Khan’s release comes on the day of his wife Shabista Khan’s birthday. She said, “It’s the best birthday gift I have ever received”.
In the order, the court also declared the extension of the detention period of Dr Khan as illegal. The order was issued on a habeas corpus petition filed by Dr Khan’s mother, Nuzhat Parveen.
When contacted, Mathura’s prison senior superintendent Shailendra Maitrey said that they would release Dr Khan once the orders are received by Aligarh DM.
Several appeals for Dr Khan’s release were made by his family members on social media. He was in the news recently after a letter he wrote about the conditions of the prison in Mathura was shared on social media. The four-page letter, purportedly written by him in June, spoke of the “hellish” conditions of his barracks, where 150 inmates were sharing a toilet.
Earlier, in March, just as the magnitude of Covid-19 was hitting governments across the world, he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that he be allowed to use his medical expertise to help in the fight against the pandemic. “I have conducted 103 free medical camps since out of jail after the BRD oxygen tragedy examining over 50,000 children/patients all over India…I feel I could be of some help in curtailing this disease,” he had written.
The death of nearly 60 children at the state-run BRD Hospital in Gorakhpur due to oxygen shortage was the flashpoint which had put Dr Khan on what was to be a recurring firing line. He was charged with medical negligence and dereliction of duty but absolved after two years — he had spent nine months behind bars at the time.
Then in January this year, he was arrested in Mumbai for his anti-CAA speech. He has been behind bars since then.