New Delhi: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been in constant touch with Dr Kafeel Khan and his family, and helped them move to Rajasthan after his release from an Uttar Pradesh jail, also assuring them of safety under her party’s state government.
Khan and his family arrived in Jaipur Thursday, and the doctor thanked Priyanka Gandhi for aiding his movement across the UP-Rajasthan border. Khan said he feels “safe” in Rajasthan.
“The Rajasthan border is connected with Mathura… Here there is a Congress government and we feel safe,” Khan said in a press conference in Jaipur.
Kafeel Khan was released from the Mathura district jail late Tuesday night, after having been arrested on 29 January for an alleged inflammatory speech made in an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest at the Aligarh Muslim University last December. A few days later, he was charged under the stringent National Security Act, but the Allahabad High Court deemed his arrest “illegal” and based on a selective reading of his speech.
Journey from Mathura jail to Jaipur hotel
Priyanka Gandhi had written a letter to UP CM Yogi Adityanath in July demanding “justice” for Khan, saying he had “worked selflessly to serve people”.
The Congress had also launched a 15-day campaign that month across several districts of UP, demanding Khan’s release. The campaign included signature drives, hunger strikes, visits to dargahs and blood donation camps in the doctor’s name.
Congress’ four-time former Mathura MLA Pradeep Mathur had stationed himself at the gate of the Mathura jail Tuesday to receive Kafeel Khan as soon as he was released.
“Priyanka ma’am asked me and other party members to make sure his release was smooth. I welcomed him, and we immediately escorted him from there to the Rajasthan border,” Mathur told ThePrint.
After crossing the state line into Rajasthan, a UP Congress team coordinated with the Rajasthan Congress to help Khan and his family check in to a Jaipur hotel.
Members of the UP Congress team said Khan and his family can stay at the hotel “for as long as he wants”.
“We know how unsafe it can be for Dr Kafeel in UP. So, we have told him he can stay there for as long as he wants. He needs to spend time with his family,” Shahnawaz Alam, Congress’ UP minority cell chief, told ThePrint.
Alam added that the Congress is bearing the expense for Khan’s stay.
“Priyanka ma’am has personally been in touch with Dr Kafeel’s family after his release, and has assured them he will be alright,” Alam said.
Reinstatement in service
Kafeel Khan, a paediatrician, was earlier arrested in August 2017 for alleged corruption leading to the deaths of 60 children due to encephalitis at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College. He was released on bail in April 2018, and a departmental inquiry commissioned by the Yogi Adityanath government cleared him of the charges in September 2019.
Khan has said he will write to the UP CM “to reinstate me in the medical service”.
“If I’m not allowed, I will hold medical camps in flood-affected areas of Assam as an activist,” he added.