Dr Kafeel Khan has written a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) about the widespread violation of international human rights standards in India and misuse of draconian laws like NSA and UAPA to suppress voices of dissent. He was recently cleared of charges under the stringent National Security Act (NSA).
In his letter, speaking about his case, he stated — “I was tortured mentally and physically as well and denied food and water for many days and treated inhumanly during my 7 months of incarceration in a congested, overcrowded Mathura prison. Fortunately, I got my NSA and all 3 extensions of detention quashed by the high court, which called the whole process illegal.”
He further thanked the UNHRC for urging the Indian government to protect human rights of activists arrested for “peacefully protesting against CAA” and said that the government “has not listened to their appeal”.
“Authorities are continuing invoking counter-terrorism and national security legislation using procedural police powers against these human right defenders for raising issues which would affect Indian’s poorest and most marginalised community, violating International human right standards,” he added.
On June 26, the UN’s human rights body had written to the Indian government, mentioning 11 cases, including that of Kafeel Khan and Sharjeel Imam, for “serious allegations of human rights violations, several relating to due process failings during arrest and detention, as well as allegations of torture and ill-treatment”.
In his letter, he also mentioned the Gorakhpur oxygen gas tragedy that took place on August 10, 2017, in Baba Raghav Das Medical College due to which many children lost their lives due to unavailability of liquid oxygen. The High court categorically stated on the April 25, 2018 order that there was no evidence of medical negligence found against him and he was not even involved in oxygen tendering processing.
Dr Khan has since been suspended from his job, but not relieved from the state services and is hence unable to practise or join elsewhere. Eight different Inquiries have been conducted by the UP government and they all have absolved him of any wrongdoing in the tragedy, and he is widely perceived as a scapegoat.
In his letter, he also stated that there was an attempt to kill his brother near the CM’s residence and claimed that the UP police was “insensitive” and did its utmost to delay the operation which was required to remove the bullets.
He further said, “putting me behind the bars and trying to suppress my voice physically and mentally is not going to break my zeal, my enthusiasm, my commitment to my country and its democratic values. I will continue raising my voice against injustice done to anyone anywhere in the world irrespective of their religion/ region/ caste/ socio-economic status/ gender/ disabilities.”