Dr Kafeel Khan has given a clear message that the continuous attempts by Yogi Adityanath to silence him will not be successful.
Weeks after his release from Mathura Jail, he has started raising the issue of draconian security laws and their misuse by the BJP government to suppress dissent.
Dr Kafeel Khan has written to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) pointing out the large scale violation of human rights by the Indian government, and is reportedly in talks with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra about the issue as well.
In January this year, the Uttar Pradesh government slapped the National Security Act (NSA) against Dr Kafeel Khan for allegedly making provocative comments during his speech on the Citizenship Amendment Act at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on 12th December 2019, where he addressed a gathering of around 600 students.
The FIR against him accused him of provoking the religious sentiments of Muslim students.
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.
He was released after the Allahabad High Court termed his detainment as illegal and scrapped the charges against him.
On June 26, the UNHRC had recognised 11 cases of human rights violations by the Indian government against human rights activists and dissenters, including that of Dr Kafeel Khan, and written to the Indian government about the same. Kafeel Khan, now writing to the UNHRC, pointed out that the Indian government had ignored the UNHRC’s appeal.
In his statement, he wrote-
“Authorities continue to invoke counter-terrorism and national security legislations using procedural police powers against these human right defenders for raising issues which would affect India’s poorest and most marginalised community, violating international human right standards”.
He alleged inhumane treatment during his 7 months of unlawful incarceration. In the Mathura jail, which was congested far beyond its capacity, he was denied food and water and tortured mentally and physically.
During his incarceration, the UP Congress’s minority cell under Shahnawaz Alam had campaigned for his release.
After his release, Dr Kafeel Khan and his family have been in touch with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
He met Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on September 21 in New Delhi, and raised the issue of draconian security laws, and pointed out that he is only one of many other peaceful protestors who have been arrested, and while he has been lucky to be released, there are many others who are still languishing in jails.
Dr Kafeel Khan was first targeted by Yogi Adityanath in 2017 after the shortage of oxygen in the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur resulted in the death of over 60 children. At the time, he was merely a junior consultant in the hospital and had been at the forefront of the emergency response to the entire tragedy.
He has alleged that the shortage of oxygen occurred due to the corruption of the authorities, and that he was scapegoated by UP CM Yogi Adityanath in order to protect the corrupt health ministers. Due to the vendetta of the BJP UP government against him, he had been incarcerated for nine months at that time without any evidence, and there at attempts at murder of his family members.
Since his arrest in 2017, he has been working for an inclusive public healthcare system, and has been targeted continuously by the BJP.