From ‘Messiah’ to ‘Killer’: Dr Kafeel Khan Opens Up On His Ordeal
Khan spoke of the 2017 Gorakhpur hospital tragedy, his days in jail and missing out on key moments of his daughter.
Video Editor: Varun Sharma, Abhishek Sharma
Two years after getting suspended and spending nine months in jail, Dr Kafeel Khan finally found respite as a government-led probe absolved him of the charges of corruption and medical negligence in the BRD Medical Hospital tragedy of 2017.
Speaking to The Quint Khan said, “I am very happy. My family and my hard work and suffering are paying off. Everyone went through great difficulty. I am thankful to God.”
Those who labelled him 'Infamous Dr Kafeel' and 'Murderer Dr Kafeel have hopefully got their answer now, he said.
More than 60 children had died between 10-12 August due to shortage of oxygen cylinders. Khan, along with other ward boys and girls, arranged for 500 jumbo oxygen cylinders to the best of his capabilities.
Khan said, “It's not about Dr Kafeel Khan, but about the 70 children who died in front of their parents' eyes. I still remember that night. Mothers were urging me to save their children. But even though we wanted to aid them, we were helpless. By the time we got one cylinder, another finished and we lost the kids.”
'It Was Hell,' Says Khan on His Jail Time
Khan recounted the dreadful days in jail where he was daily served the same food Roti and Mooli Ki Sabzi every day.
“I was served roti with mooli (radish) sabji, but I couldn't eat for days.... until one night when I gave in, dipped roti in water and ate it,” said Khan.
He added, “The most horrible thing was that there was only one toilet in the barrack and some prisoners didn’t use water while defecating. So one had to clean the toilet before using it. When they locked us close to the toilet we could barely breathe for about 12 hours.”
'Daughter Couldn't Recognise Me When I Was Released'
Khan got emotional talking about his family, recollecting his time away from his daughter. He said that his daughter, Zabrina, who was just nine months old when he was imprisoned, couldn’t recognise him when he was released.
“When I got out of jail, my wife told me that the police used to visit the house at 2-3 am. I’m told they wouldn’t let my little daughter have milk. It hurts me the most, even today that my daughter was so little when I left. As a pediatrician, people used to tell me that when I became a father, I’d truly understand the milestones: when she learns to walk, talk, run. I missed all of them.”Dr Kafeel Khan
He broke down as he continued, “When I got out, she had been through all these stages. She called me 'Papa' but didn't know what it meant. She knew my brother better than she knew me.”
Khan received the 15-page report on Thursday, 26 September, a copy of which has been accessed by The Quint.
It stated that Khan was on leave on 10 August, and that he has been absolved of the charges of corruption and medical negligence.
The inquiry committee was set up by the Adityanath-led government on 22 August 2017. The report was supposed to be submitted within 90 days, failing which the Allahabad High Court intervened and directed the state government to submit the report by June this year.
Khan, who is relieved with the report, said far more pressing questions like why was there a shortage of oxygen cylinders and who were the real culprits are yet to be answered.
As the report has given him the clean chit, Khan now waits for the day his suspension is revoked.
However, courting new controversy, the UP Principal Secretary (Medical Education) Rajnish Dube on Thursday, 3 October, said that Khan has not been given a clean chit by the government.
Khan, while speaking to The Quint has maintained that it is the government’s prerogative to accept the report, and stressed on the fact that they are merely diverting from the real issues in the case.
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