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Published On: Tue, Sep 1st, 2020

Dr Kafeel Khan Set for ‘Immediate Release’ as Allahabad HC Orders Dropping of NSA Charges

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-dr-kafeel-khanALLAHABAD : NSA charges against Dr Kafeel Khan droppedNEW DELHI : In major relief for Dr Kafeel Khan, the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of detained Dr Kafeel Khan and the dropping of the stringent National Security Act (NSA) charges against him.

The court also declared that the extension of his detention as illegal. The relief comes after months of detention for Kafeel who had been in prison for making inflammatory speeches in December. Khan was in prison since January.
Khan was booked under IPC section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion). The FIR registered against him states that his speech threatened to disrupt the harmony between the communities and was also likely to create a law and order situation.
Later, sections 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) of the Indian Penal Code were added to the FIR.
Dr Kafeel Khan was a lecturer and the nodal officer of the encephalitis ward in the state-run BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur. Dr Khan was greatly lauded for his efforts to save lives during the 2017 tragedy in the hospital that caused the deaths of 63 children.
The deaths reportedly occurred due to a cut in the oxygen supply, with medical negligence being blamed for the deaths. Khan was arrested in August 2017 after the UP government denied that the deaths had occurred due to cutting of oxygen supply. Khan was quitted of all charges in September 2019.

Khan was arrested in January for delivering the speech at Aligarh Muslim University on December 10, 2019. The NSA charges were invoked against him on February 13, 2020, on the orders of the Aligarh District Magistrate. On August 16, his detention under NSA was extended for the second time by three months.
Following the speech, the Uttar Pradesh government invoked NSA charges against him on February 13, 2020, by of the Aligarh District Magistrate. On August 16, his detention under NSA was extended for the second time by three months.

Under the NSA, people can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months if authorities are satisfied that they are a threat to national security or law and order.
Khan’s mother Nuzhat Parveen filed a plea in Allahabad HC seeking his release following which a bench comprising of justices Manoj Mishra and Deepak Verma passed the order asking the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to file their replies in a case seeking the release of Khan.
In Tuesday’s hearing, the Allahabad HC observed that the Kafeel speech was not inflammatory and not sufficient for preventive detention.
The division bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh observed that Khan’s speech does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or unrest, as per Live Law. The court held that the speech did not harm the “peace and tranquility of Aligarh”. It further added that the address gave a “call for national integrity and unity among the citizens”.
Khan had popular support from civil society and several celebrities who have for months been running a campaign for his release. His family credited Dr Kafeel’s active social work after being released from jail in 2018 as the reason behind growing support for the doctor.
The doctor, who is currently lodged in Mathura jail, had first hit the headlines in August 2017 when several children died at the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur, where he worked as a paediatrician. Though he was later given a clean chit in a departmental probe, the government did not reinstate him.

The doctor was arrested for his alleged role in the death of children in one week. Short supply of oxygen at the children’s ward was blamed at that time for the deaths. About two years later, a state government probe cleared Khan of all major charges, prompting him to seek an apology from the Yogi Adityanath government.
Under the NSA, people can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months if authorities are satisfied that they are threat to the national security or law and order.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hailed the Allahabad High Court directive quashing Khan’s detention and hoped the state government will immediately release him “without any malice”.
“The Allahabad High Court today ordered the removal of NSA and immediate release of Dr Kafeel Khan,” she said in a tweet. “It is expected that the UP government will release Dr. Kafeel Khan without any malice.”
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs ).

 

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