The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of the Uttar Pradesh doctor, Dr Kafeel Khan, who was jailed under the National Security Act (NSA) for alleged hate speech against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA.
UP’s Gorakhpur based doctor was arrested under NSA on January 29 for an inflammatory speech at the Aligarh Muslim University during the protest against the CAA on December 12 last year.
“A complete reading of the speech prima facie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. It also nowhere threatens peace and tranquillity of the city of Aligarh,” the high court said today, reported NDTV.
“It appears that the District Magistrate had selective reading and selective mention for few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent,” the High Court said.
The doctor was first charged for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups of religion. Charges under NSA were invoked two days after he was granted bail on February 10.
Khan is currently lodged in the Mathura jail. After he was lodged there, Khan’s family had alleged threat to his life and his wife had written to the Allahabad High Court and other authorities.
Shabista Khan, Kafeel’s wife, in a letter to the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, Additional Chief Secretary (Home), and Director General (Jail), had alleged that her husband is being treated inhumanely in the jail.
The Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh Police had on January 29 arrested Kafeel Khan, a suspended paediatrician of BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur, for making inflammatory statements at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) during a protest against CAA in December last year.
An FIR was registered against him under section 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) of IPC on December 13.
After his arrest in Mumbai, Khan was brought to Aligarh, from where he was immediately shifted to the district jail in neighbouring Mathura.
Prior to being booked under NSA in connection with the CAA hate speech case, in 2017, Dr Kafeel Khan was suspended and arrested for his alleged role in the deaths of over 60 children at a government hospital in Gorakhpur due to alleged shortage of oxygen.
However, Khan was later given a clean chit in the child deaths case.
The controversial Citizenship Amendment Act had triggered massive nationwide protest.
Those opposing the amended law said it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also alleged that the CAA, along with the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC), is intended to target India’s Muslim community.
However, the BJP-led Central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not take away citizenship from anyone.