Congress to launch massive campaign in UP demanding the release of Dr Kafeel Khan
The campaign will be monitored by the head of the UP Congress minority cell, Shahnawaz Alam who himself faced arrest allegedly for taking part in the anti-CAA protest in Lucknow
In a move which is likely to open another front in the ongoing political battle between the resurgent Congress and the incumbent BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the grand old party has decided to launch a three-week-long campaign for the release of jailed Dr Kafeel Khan.
Dr Kafeel Khan – a native of Gorakhpur, the city which UP CM Yogi Adityanath belongs to – has been languishing in Mathura jail for taking part in anti-CAA-NRC protests.
He was arrested by the UP Special Task Force in Mumbai on January 29 when he had arrived there to participate in a protest. Later, the stringent National Security Act (NSA) was slapped on Dr Kafeel Khan for an alleged hate speech at the Aligarh Muslim University.
In his order, the Aligarh district magistrate said the speech was a “precursor” to the rampant violence and stone pelting that the campus witnessed on December 15.
Dr Kafeel Khan was also arrested in 2017 for allegedly indulging in corruption, following a controversy that broke out after the death of 63 children at Gorakhpur’s BRD medical college due to lack of oxygen. He was jailed for 60 days then. The Yogi government had alleged that Dr Kafeel, who was then working as the in charge of the hospital’s encephalitis ward, was carrying out private practice.
The campaign for the release of Dr Kafeel Khan will be monitored by the head of the UP Congress minority cell, Shahnawaz Alam who himself faced arrest allegedly for taking part in the anti-CAA protest in Lucknow. After spending 16 days in jail, he was recently granted bail by the Lucknow session court.
According to the plan, from July 22 to August 12, a door-to-door signature campaign would be launched all over the state. People will be asked to sign memorandums and make videos demanding the release of Dr Kafeel Khan.
Elaborating on the plan, Alam told NH that the Congress party will mobilize minority community to build pressure on the government.
“We will reach out to clerics, madarsas, educational institutes, self help groups, member of civil society and ask them to raise their voice in favour of our demand,” said Alam, adding “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”.
When asked why Dr Kafeel Khan was chosen to highlight the atrocities on anti-CAA protesters, Alam said, “He is one of the most prominent voices from the minority community in UP, speaking against the injustice, reign of terror and institutional corruption…He is paying the price for his courage to speak up against the Yogi government which wants to crush the Muslims voices forever.”
Alam said not only Dr Kafeel Khan but anyone – be it student leaders, politicians or activists – who dares to challenge the Yogi government, faces harassment and fake cases.
“This will work as a catalyst, fastening the revival of the Congress party in UP. After Priyanka Gandhi took the charge, the party hit the street on various issues…Muslim community also feels that the new Congress will fight for them. According to my inputs, the community has already sent out feelers that they may swing in favor of the Congress in the forthcoming election,” said a UP watcher.
On Sunday, people had set Twitter on storm demanding Dr Khan’s his release. As per a report published in TOI, over 1 lakh Twitter posts were written in less than 4 hours demanding the release of Dr Kafeel Khan along with other “political prisoners” on Sunday.
Published: 22 Jul 2020, 12:50 PM