Days after a court quashed his detention under the National Security Act, Dr Kafeel Khan on Thursday said he will ask the Uttar Pradesh chief minister to give him back his job in the state medical services. Khan was addressing a press conference in the Rajasthan capital, where he said he felt safe as it is a Congress-run state indirectly comparing it with Uttar Pradesh.
He was suspended from Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College after several children died there in 2017, apparently due to the lack of oxygen cylinders at the government hospital. A departmental inquiry later cleared Khan of most of the charges, but he found himself in trouble for an allegedly provocative speech in Aligarh during last December's protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
He was arrested by UP's Special Task Force (STF) in Mumbai and later detained under the stringent NSA, which the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday ruled was illegal. As the High Court has quashed the charges under the NSA lodged against me, I would write to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister to reinstate me in the medical service, he told reporters.
If I am not allowed, I will hold medical camps in flood-affected areas of Assam as an activist, he added. The doctor said he and his family arrived in Jaipur after his release as they felt safe here.
"There is a Congress government in Rajasthan. My family felt that we will be safe here. I wanted to spend some quality time with my family," he said. He said he was falsely implicated by the UP government and sent to jail as he had exposed the system.
"I was leading a simple life. I tried to expose the system as children died at BRD Medical College due to lack of oxygen. This did not go well with our chief minister and a false case was lodged, and I was sent to jail," he claimed. Khan alleged he was tortured and asked weird questions after being arrested for the speech he gave at the Aligarh Muslim University.
"The UP government invoked the stringent NSA against him for three months, and the period was extended twice each time by three months. I was not given water for 72 hours after being taken into custody," he claimed. I was physically tortured after the STF arrested me. I was asked weird questions like if have invented any powder to kill people and visited Japan to topple the government," Khan said.
The doctor said he feared for his life after the arrest. State-sponsored victimisation of me and my family has been going on. I feared that I could have been killed in an encounter. I am thankful to the STF that they did not kill me while bringing me to Uttar Pradesh, he said.
Ordering his release on Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court said the speech didn't promote hatred or violence and gave a call for national unit. It said the Aligarh district magistrate who passed the order for Khan's detention did a "selective reading" of his speech, "ignoring its true intent.
Khan said he had no problem with the CAA as it was an Act that granted citizenship, but with the chronology that said it will be followed by exercises related to the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). I don't want citizens to be discriminated against on the basis of their religion, he said.
He said his arrest affected his family. My 65-year-old mother, my wife had to frequently visit the Supreme Court during the pandemic. My brothers' businesses were destroyed. My seven-and-a-half-month-old son doesn't recognise me and runs away to my brother's lap. I don't think any government can give me bigger pain than this, he said.
Asked if he was arrested because his name is Kafeel Khan, he said, I would have been put behind bars even if I was Kapil Singh or Kapil Mishra. I was put behind bars because I exposed the system which killed 70 children and not for any other reason." He thanked opposition parties for supported him, naming Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.