TARIQ HASAN | 16 FEBRUARY, 2020
Bail ignored, NSA invoked
ALIGARH: Dr Kafeel Ahmad Khan, the suspended UP health department doctor was booked under the National Security Act (NSA) Saturday morning for delivering a speech during anti-CAA protests at the Aligarh Muslim University. This was four days after he was granted bail in a case filed against him by the Aligarh police on December 13 last, and was not released from jail despite the order.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Aligarh had granted him bail in this case on February 10 but the Mathura jail authorities, where he was interned since January 29 kept delaying his release on one pretext or the other. When he was finally about to be released he was served the detention order under NSA.
The district magistrate of Aligarh, Chandra Bhushan Singh said “he has been charged under this Act because there are grounds that his speech at the AMU campus on December 12, 2019 led to the subsequent violent protest at the campus during the next two days”.
Singh claimed, “we have received a report from the Aligarh police suggesting that if he is released, presently he can cause serious law and order problems”.
Dr Khan’s travails with the law began in August 2017 when he was suspended for alleged negligence and later arrested after the death of 60 children at the BRD Medical College Hospital, Gorakhpur (He was granted bail in April 2018 by the Allahabad High Court). The Citizen had reported at the time of the service done by Khan in saving the lives of several children by arranging oxygen at the crucial juncture. Despite allegations levelled against him by Lucknow he was subsequently given a clean chit in a departmental inquiry. However, the Uttar Pradesh government charged him for making anti-government remarks.
On December 12 last, Khan, along with the national president of Swaraj Party, Yogendra Yadav, addressed an anti-CAA rally organized by the AMU students at the Baab-e-Syed gate. The next day, the Aligarh police booked him for delivering an inflammatory speech, which they stated, was designed to inflame communal passion.
The FIR, lodged at the Civil Lines police station, stated, “Dr Kafeel had in his speech said ‘Mota Bhai teaches us to become Hindus but he never teaches us to become human beings’. A person whose hands are tainted with murder and whose cloths are stained with blood, can never hide the truth of his guilt”.
The FIR further quotes Dr Kafeels speech as follows: “From the day the RSS was born, they have never accepted the Constitution of India. In RSS sponsored schools, children are taught that those with beards are terrorists.”
It further quotes him as having said that “Under the CAA, you will be harassed and you will be asked for the details of your father and if you are unable to provide the information, you will be harassed. The battle against CAA and NRC is a struggle for our survival”.
He is quoted as saying, “We are 25 crores and the CAB is being used to spread fear amongst us”.
The FIR states, “Dr Kafeel’s speech against the CAB will spread hatred between Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians”.
More than 45 days after the FIR was filed, Khan was arrested from Mumbai and brought to Aligarh on January 29 and within a couple of hours after he was produced before a Magistrate, he was sent to Mathura jail as local authorities insisted that his presence in the Aligarh jail could lead to a law and order problem keeping in mind the ongoing anti-CAA protests.
Yesterday, his lawyer Irfan Ghazi said that Khan was being kept in solitary confinement on the grounds that his life could be in danger in jail. He said that he would challenge the slapping of NSA in the Allahabad High Court. His family members who had gone to be with him after his release, returned heartbroken and empty handed.
As the news of Khan’s detention under NSA spread, senior leaders of the AMU Students’ Coordination Committee, who were at the anti-CAA dharna site near Baabe-e-Syed gate told media persons that his detention was “purely political vendetta aimed at silencing the anti-CAA protests in the state”.
Spokesman of the Students’ Coordination Committee, former President of AMU Students’ Union, Faizul Hasan said, “This is a gross violation of the Supreme Court’s 1986 ruling pertaining to denial of bail in a similar case.”
Hasan said, “If Dr Kafeel is charged under NSA for spreading communal ill will during his speech at Aligarh, then all the BJP ministers and chief ministers who have delivered much more venomous speeches should also be charged in a similar manner”.
Hasan said that by resorting to double standards, the government is not helping in the restoration of normalcy but is in fact further spreading ill will amongst different sections of the people.
The UP police is facing serious charges of brutality during the anti-CAA protests in the state in December. This has been followed by thousands of protesters being booked by the police that has followed this further by issuing notices for attachment of their properties. The latest is a notice of Rs 1 crore to well known poet Imran Pratapgarhi for similar reasons. He is a young and very popular poet who also contested (and lost) the last Lok Sabha elections as a Congress candidate from Moradabad.
The slapping of NSA against Dr Kafeel Khan, instead of silencing dissent, is further embittering Muslim public opinion against the Adityanath government and the Police and is being viewed as yet another example of the state government’s bias.