The authorities on Tuesday extended the detention of Dr Kafeel Khan, booked over alleged hate speech under the National Security Act, by another three months.
The Gorakhpur doctor has already spent three months in detention at Mathura Jail under the stringent NSA after allegedly making an inflammatory speech on the Aligarh Muslim University campus during the protests there over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“The NSA on Dr Kafeel has been extended up to six months as there is apprehension that his release may lead to law and order problems,” a senior official in Aligarh confirmed.
The six months include the three months already spent in detention. The NSA allows preventive detention for up to a year.
Kafeel Khan’s brother Adil Ahmed questioned the extension.
“I am surprised by the NSA extension grounds that Kafeel’s release may lead to unrest,” he said.
“With all train and air services discontinued and the university closed, how is it possible that Dr Kafeel goes to the AMU campus and disturbs the peace?”
“Does the extension make any sense in the situation of a lockdown,” he asked.
Adil Ahmed also expressed concern over his brother’s health, citing reports of coronavirus infection in Agra Jail and the fear of the infection spreading in the “overcrowded” Mathura prison.
Khan was arrested at Mumbai airport on January 29 in connection with a case registered at Aligarh’s Civil Lines police station under section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code.
The section relates to promoting enmity between groups over religion and other differences.
On February 10, Khan was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court but not immediately released by Mathura Jail authorities. His family then moved court in Aligarh, claiming contempt of the HC order.
The court issued a fresh release order on February 13. But before it could be executed, the authorities invoked the NSA against him.
The doctor had earlier faced arrest following the deaths of over 60 children in a week at a government hospital in UP’s Gorakhpur in 2017.
About two years later, a state government probe cleared Khan of all major charges, prompting him to seek an apology from the Yogi Adityanath government.