The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has done it again. Cocking a snook at Supreme Court’s order, it has stopped the release of Dr Kafeel Khan under parole under the direction of a senior official of Lucknow.
Dr Shabista Khan, wife of Dr Kafeel Khan, said that Dr Kafeel Khan was to be released on parole after the Supreme Court order of March 23. His name was on the list of people who were to be released and the release date was assigned to be March 29.
The Apex Court order had directed all the states to consider release on parole of prisoners, whose punishment is not more than 7 years, to ease out crowd in the jails during the Coronavirus scare.
Dr Kafeel Khan is in Mathura jail and is booked under NSA for hate speech.
“I got a call from Dr Kafeel Khan at around 3 pm on Sunday that his name has been removed from the list of the persons to be released from jail on parole at the last minute on the direction of a senior official of Lucknow,” she said in a WhatsApp message.
She further said: “Ï appeal to Supreme Court to release my husband at the earliest. He is also not keeping well.”
On Saturday (March 28), the UP government has ordered release of around 11,000 convicted and under-trial prisoners jailed in 71 jails in the state in view to ease out the crowd in the prisons due to spread of Coronavirus. Of the jailed prisoners to be released are 8,500 under-trials and 2,500 convicts. They would be released on personal bond for 8 weeks.
This is the second time the UP government has played foul with Dr Kafeel Khan. Earlier on March 4, it had reinstated three doctors who were suspended following the infamous oxygen scarcity case in BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur leading to the death of over 60 children, 23 of them in one night in August 2017. But Dr Kafeel Khan was sent to jail.
On March 4, Governor Anandiben Patel signed the government recommendation reinstating former Principal of BRD Medical College Dr Rajiv Mishra, Dr Satish Kumar, anaesthetist, and Dr Purnima Shukla, wife of Dr rajiv Shukla. Dr Purnima Shukla has retired and all her retirement benefits have been cleared after the Governor’s proclamation.
Interestingly, in August 2019, Dr Khan was absolved of the charges of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty on the day when children died due to oxygen shortage. Still he was kept in jail.
The death of children due to oxygen shortage in August 2017 had become a major issue for the Yogi Adityanath government, which had been sworn in barely five months prior to the tragedy. The state government suspended Dr Khan blaming him squarely for the tragedy.