UP Congress minority cell launches campaign for Dr. Kafeel Khan’s release

The door-to-door campaign will run till August 12 and see massive mobilisation of the minority community

Kafeel Khan

In a move that is likely to ruffle the feathers of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, the resurgent Congress has decided to launch a three-week long campaign for the release of jailed Dr. Kafeel Khan, reported National Herald (NH).

Dr. Kafeel Khan who has been languishing in a Mathura jail, was arrested by the UP government for allegedly making provocative speeches at an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). He was charged under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) to ensure his continuous incarceration.

In June, in a purportedly hand-written letter, Dr. Khan had described the conditions at the Mathura prison. He had highlighted the unhygienic and filthy living conditions, unpalatable meals and the risk to life due to congestion and no social distancing. He had earlier written to PM Modi in March, pleading that he be released and allowed to use his medical expertise to help people during the pandemic.

National Herald reported that the campaign for the release of Dr. Khan would be monitored by the head of the UP Congress minority cell, Shahnawaz Alam, who had himself spent 16 days in jail for allegedly participating in an anti-CAA protest in Lucknow.

As per the plan, in a door-to-door campaign that started on July 22 and is set to go on till August 12, people throughout the state will be asked to sign memorandums and make videos demanding the release of Dr. Khan.

Alam also mentioned that the Congress would mobilise the minority community in UP to build pressure on the government for Dr. Khan’s release. Speaking to NH, Alam said, “We will reach out to clerics, madarsas, educational institutes, self-help groups, members of civil society and ask them to raise their voice in favour of our demand. Congress will use each and every forum, media, symbol to mobilize people against BJP’s brutal regime…On behalf of Priyanka Gandhi, the party will offer a Chadar at every dargah in the state in order to galvanize support for Dr. Khan.”

The civil society has been routinely campaigning for Dr. Khan’s release, as well as the release of other ‘political prisoners’ who have been targeted for dissenting against the UP government.

On July 19, a couple of days after Dr. Khan’s letter from prison became public, people took to Twitter to demand his release. The Times of India reported that over 1 lakh posts were put up in less than four hours, calling for Dr. Khan and other ‘political prisoners’ to be immediately set free. Prior to that the medical fraternity had joined the cause in seeking his freedom.

Before being arrested by the UP government for his alleged provocative speeches during the anti-CAA protests, Dr. Kafeel Khan had suffered a nine-month long incarceration and was suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government for alleged medical negligence in the case of the BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur, where the lack of oxygen supply had taken the lives of more than 60 children. However, he was given a clean-chit in the matter and acquitted in the case after a government-appointed inquiry.


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