Mathura jail authorities delay Dr Kafeel Khan’s release on technical grounds, says wife Shabista

They have been insisting they will release him only if Aligarh’s District Magistrate issued the release orders. However, DM Chandra Bhushan Singh has refused to officially receive the court’s orders

Dr Kafeel Khan (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Dr Kafeel Khan (Photo Courtesy: PTI)

Ashlin Mathew

Despite the Allahabad High Court ordering the immediate release of Dr Kafeel Khan on Tuesday, he has still not been released from Mathura Jail. The Mathura Jail authorities have been insisting that they will release Dr Khan only if Aligarh’s District Magistrate issued the release orders. However, DM Chandra Bhushan Singh has refused to officially receive the court’s orders.

This was confirmed by Khan’s wife Shabista. His release would have made the day sweeter for Shabista, whose birthday falls on September 1.

The Allahabad High Court dismissed charges filed against Khan under the National Security Act (NSA) and ordered his immediate release. Khan has been lodged at the Mathura jail in Uttar Pradesh since January 29, 2020.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh, was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Khan’s mother Nuzhat Parveen. She sought his release on grounds that he had been detained illegally.

“The judges have vindicated our stand. They have set aside his detention under the NSA and given us justice. Today, truth has won, and we have got justice. We are thankful to the judges. Several people have helped us during this journey and I am forever indebted to them for raising our concerns and fighting for us. Even though it’s a day of joy, it is still sad that an innocent man, who has always served the country, had to spend seven months in jail. These seven months can never come back. If we keep fighting and raising our voices, truth will win. Only then will the many innocent people who are lodged in various jails be released,” said Shabista in a video, which was released by the family.

She appealed to the government to stop misusing the NSA. “If someone has genuinely committed a crime, put those people in jail. Don’t slap NSA changes on anyone and everyone. Only those who have suffered can understand. Stop invoking these changes on innocent people to keep them in jail. I hope you will consider my plea,” added Dr Khan’s wife.

Under the NSA, authorities can detain people without any charge if they are believed to pose a threat to the national security or law and order.

Requesting the police and the government to stop tormenting families, Shabista said that the anguish with which they spent these seven months could not be put in words. “A family can break when they go through this. Don’t torment families. A four-year-old daughter has not seen her father for seven months. How many lies we have had to tell her about his absence. A mother hasn’t seen her son for the same period.”

Khan was arrested in January for delivering a speech at Aligarh Muslim University on December 10, 2019. The FIR against him stated that his speech threatened to disrupt the harmony between the communities. The NSA charges were invoked against him on February 13, 2020, on the orders of the Aligarh District Magistrate. On August 16, his detention under NSA was extended for the second time by three months.

The division bench hearing his case stated that, “A complete reading of the speech primafacie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. It also doesn’t threaten peace and tranquillity of the city of Aligarh. The address gives a call for national integrity and unity among the citizens. The speech also deprecates any kind of violence. It appears that the District Magistrate had selective reading and selective mention of few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent.”

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