Adding to the woes of Dr Kafeel Khan – who has been lodged in Mathura jail since January – the National Security Act (NSA) charges that were slapped against him were extended by a period of three months on Tuesday, 12 May.
NSA charges were slapped against Khan in February for three months, which were scheduled to get over on Tuesday evening, his brother Adil Khan told The Quint.
The Mathura jail has a capacity of 500 prisoners but has 1,750 prisoners lodged in it, even as the country observes a coronavirus induced-lockdown.
“My brother will stay in jail till 13 August now. NSA charges are extended against somebody who poses danger to the nation. How is my brother dangerous? What can he possibly do during a pandemic and a lockdown?”Adil Khan, Dr Kafeel Khan’s brother
‘Calls Once a Week For 5 Mins’
His brother said that, as per the law, Khan can call twice a week on two numbers. However, the jail authorities have allowed him to make calls only on Tuesdays.
“He calls on Tuesday for five minutes and speaks to the family. He speaks to his children, but he is mostly concerned about his papers in the Supreme Court and High Court,” the brother added.
Khan’s family had filed a case against his illegal arrest in the Supreme Court, which the top court said will be transferred to a high court as they ‘don’t have a sitting bench currently’. However, his brother alleged that the papers have been misplaced.
The Supreme Court in March had asked all states to consider releasing prisoners facing sentences of up to seven years in order to decongest prisons in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, no action has been taken by the Mathura jail yet.
This development comes not only amid a lockdown, but also in between the holy month of Ramzan. Khan is said to have been fasting in jail and tries to catch up with his children and how their fast is going, every Tuesday.
Khan was arrested on 29 January, with assistance from Mumbai Police, when he arrived in the city to attend anti-CAA protests.
According to the FIR, he is accused of provoking the religious sentiments of Muslim students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during an address to a gathering of around 600 students on 12 December.
He has been under suspension from the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur since the oxygen tragedy of 2017.
Khan is also known to have written four letters amid the coronavirus crisis, pleading with the authorities, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to allow him to offer his medical expertise in the current situation.
In his last letter from jail, in April, he wrote about how he felt helpless and how much he misses his family. He also stressed on the need for ramping up COVID-19 testing.
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