After eight months of perpetual struggle to get bail for her husband Dr Kafeel Khan, his wife Dr Shabista Khan turns to New Delhi in a hope for speedy relief, with the ordeal “running into the ninth month now”, she says.

Setting a discourse with the members of media, a press conference was held on April 21, 2018 at Press Club of India, New Delhi. The conference, organised by United Against Hate, a campaign working to bring the alarming issues to broad daylight was attended by media persons, close family members and social activists. Addressing the media were Dr Shabista Khan, Kafeel Khan’s wife.l, Adol Ahmad Khan,his brother, Ravi Nayar, Director of South Asian Document Centre, Dr Syed Faizan Ahmed, National Secretary of All India Medical Students Association, Dr Purak Mishra, son of Dr Rajiv Mishra, one of the accused in the Gorakhpur case and Nadeem Khan, a social activist.

The incident which resulted in death of 60 plus children in Gorakhpur's Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital shook the country.Most deaths were reported from the neonatal and encephalitis wards. As his brother recalls that on being informed about the shortage of oxygen supply Khan collected empty cylinders replacing them with 250 oxygen cylinders when the government machinery had failed to take control of the situation.

As per the reports, nine people have been charged under different sections of The code of Criminal Procedure. Out of the nine, four are doctors including Khan and Dr Rajiv Mishra and others“unjustly put behind bars”.

Nadeem Khan, an activist working with United Against Hate focused on how surprising the arrest was and said, “Dr Kafeel and his colleagues have been under arrest since eight months for what are bailable offences as per law of the land. These are the statutory rights of the citizen of the country which are being denied ko Kafeel.”

Expressing the confused state of the administration over the whole matter, Adil sKhan aid “There are endless versions of the incident from the state. Sometimes the cause stated was the oxygen cylinders and later, it became to shortage of the cylinders. The reports are contradictory and allegations put are completely baseless”. Calling out for more support from the media fraternity Nadeem expressed outrage over the lack of coverage on the issue and said “Nobody wants the issue to come out in the open. These people have become the scapegoats for the bigger people who are safe in their homes”.

Ravi Nair, one of the representatives on the panel explained the Uttar Pradesh Government’s “arbitrary understanding of the incident” and expressed discontentment over the treatment given to the case. “No cross examination was done by the authorities”, Nair said. The official statement of the UP government remains, “There were no deaths due to the lack of gas cylinders”.

Contrary to this, the chief supplier of the Pushpa gas agency was given bail recently by the Supreme Court after serving eight months in jail. According to Nair, “if the official statement is true then the grounds of the arrest of Kafeel and his colleagues are fabricated.” Dr Syed Faizan Ahmed, a doctor who represented the fraternity stressed that the families must get relief. He said the medical fraternity extends full support.

The united panel appealed for the grant of bail to Dr Kafeel on the grounds of deteriorating health conditions or else they would have to take matters to the Supreme Court alleging the lack of mandatory legal action in the High Courts. Shabista Khan further said, “The Pediatric Department’s reports were highlighted whereas a pregnant lady allegedly died in another department.

The matter of negligence and forgery has been forced upon Kafeel where not even the basic medical assistance is being provided”. Discussing with the media, Shabista told the hall how the administrative treatment to all those behind the bars is putting them through “severe depression”.

Addressing the gathering, there were notings like “there are children dying even today but there is not enough coverage or Dr Kafeel”, says Shabista.

Talking to The Citizen, Dr Purak Mishra expressed the need for justice where his parents are “falsely accused”. The next action for him is to file for bail in the court on April 30, 2018 for his father Dr Rajiv Mishra and May 1, 2018 for his mother, Poornima. For Shabista, who could not hold her tears back sharing her struggle to get justice, “we will go to the Supreme Court. We will file a case on Monday or Tuesday and ask the SC to give some instructions to HC to take care of the matter”.

With a hope for justice to each one behind the bars, the press conference was concluded on the note where Nair told the media to listen carefully to the families of the accused, “there is no fault in their voices as their struggle is real. There are other people being protected who are creating hurdles on their path for justice”.

“We have seen the fall from being hailed as a hero to being the villian”, Shabista who was seemingly distressed told the media. Meanwhile, the larger question “how can a doctor conspire to kill children when he has a months old daughter?” she asked as she carried the daughter in her arms, awaiting justice.