‘Is Father Treating Patients in Jail Too?’: Kafeel Khan’s Daughter
His wife fears that he might get killed as he has been put in a small barrack, among around 100 other criminals.
“If his name wasn't Kafeel Khan, if he wasn't a doctor, or if he did not have the passion to save lives of children, he would have given up by now,” said Adil Khan, brother of Dr Kafeel Khan who was arrested on 30 January over alleged inflammatory speech on the Citizenship Amendment Act. Kafeel has been lodged in Mathura jail ever since.
This is not the first time that Kafeel has been arrested. Ever since the BRD Medical college tragedy took place in Gorakhpur in 2017 – wherein over 60 children died due to the lack of oxygen cylinders and administrative failures – he has been arrested several times, however, this time has been the most difficult for the family.
Kafeel’s elder brother Adil Khan also told The Quint, “This is the fourth time that he has been arrested. But he has never been treated this way before.”
“I met my husband Dr Khan in Mathura Jail. I came to know that there is a life threat to him. He is being mentally harassed inside and was not even given food for five days after he was brought to jail,” said Shabista Khan, Kafeel’s wife in a letter to Additional Chief Secretary Home Uttar Pradesh and DG Jail Uttar Pradesh.
Shabista fears that he might get killed as he has been put in a 10 x 15 barrack, among hundreds of other criminals.
“We are not asking for any special treatment for him, all we want is for the authorities to just keep him in another room with lesser number of people. We are pursuing all our legal options, but we want him to be safe in jail,” said Adil.
On 14 February, Kafeel was slapped with NSA charges. To add to the woes of the family, his maternal uncle Dr Nusratullah Warsi was shot dead in front of his house in Gorakhpur.
‘Shabista Has Never Been This Disturbed’
Adil stated, “When he was arrested for the first time in the BRD medical case, we were shaken. Then he was arrested again in Bahraich and released after a day. Even then, Shabista was not worried as much as she is worried today. Knowing how he has been tortured in the jail, Shabista has gone into depression as she worries about him every moment.”
His brother added that when Kafeel was arrested at the Mumbai airport, he wasn't allowed to talk to the family.
“When they took him from Mumbai via the Golden Express train, his hand was tied up with a metal rod for two whole days till they reached Aligarh,” he added.
It hasn't stopped there. Adil stated that even the letters that Kafeel has written to Shabista and his mother were snatched away by the jail authorities.
“They can read the letter and return it if it's a matter of security, but they have taken the letters and kept it with themselves,” he further stated.
'Are You Helping Patients?,’ Asks Kafeel’s Daughter
Kafeel has two young children, two-year-old Zabrina and one-year-old Ulaiwar Khan. The Quint reported earlier how the jail time during his arrest in the BRD medical case had affected his relationship with his daughter.
Ever since Zabrina was born, Kafeel has mostly been in jail or away on his medical camps. Adil stated, “The children mostly stay with me since Kafeel is away. The children are have been impacted differently. The younger one still looks for his father, while Zabrina thinks that his father is in one of his camps.”
“‘Are you treating patients in the jail as well,’ asked two-year old Zabrina when she met him in jail, unable to comprehend the situation.”Adil Khan, Kafeel’s brother
So, Why Has Kafeel Been Arrested This Time?
His brother alleges that the authorities have arrested him because he got a clean chit, as surprising as that may seem.
Devesh Chaturvedi, Principal Secretary Health and medical education, in January, held a meeting with senior doctors, submitted a report that Kafeel is innocent and has been given a clean chit in the Bahraich case in 2018 as he never went to the NICU without permission.
Then comes the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) incident which he believes was blown out of proportion by the media.
“He went to Aligarh on 12 December, around 5:30 pm he gave a speech. Nothing happens that day. Next day on 13 December, Hindu Mahasabha and others create a ruckus over his speech. There were four-five more people who addressed the students besides Kafeel. But only Kafeel and Yogendra Yadav have FIRs registered against them,” he said.
“Yogendra Yadav was let off, but not Kafeel. Why is he then arrested after almost 50 days? Why from the Mumbai airport? And why was the STF sent?”Adil Khan, Kafeel’s Brother
He has also claimed that the STF had earlier planned to arrest Kafeel in Bihar last year when he was there in one of his medical camps but the Nitish Kumar-led government denied permission for the arrest, considering his work.
Talking about his AMU speech, Adil alleges that he is being targeted as everyone – not just Muslims – stand by him.
“All Kafeel said was that Mota Bhai only talks about Hindus and Muslims and never about being human or humanity, this was all he meant. But this was twisted and spread in the wrong taste,” said Adil.
However, denying the family’s claims, Mathura District Magistrate Sarvagya Ram Mishra stated that the allegations of “inhuman” treatment being meted out to him are baseless.
The family standing by their claim, said that “it is only because Kafeel has exposed the government with his voice and that is exactly why he is being targeted.”
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