‘Kafeel Khan’s speech didn’t promote hatred’: HC orders his release, says invoking NSA illegal
The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday ordered the release of Dr Kafeel Khan, detained in December last year for his speech at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The court said that Khan’s speech did not promote any kind of hatred or violence.
After his detention, the Uttar Pradesh government had invoked the National Security Act (NSA) against Khan. However, the court said that imposing the stringent act was illegal based on the grounds submitted by the authorities.
The doctor has been in jail since January 29 for allegedly delivering a provocative speech at the Aligarh Muslim University on December 10, 2019, during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests.
The high court bench comprising chief justice Govind Marhur and justice Saumitra Dayal Singh allowed the habeas corpus writ petition filed by the doctor’s mother Nuzhat Perween seeking his release and stated that Khan’s speech did not promote any kind of hatred or violence.
“A complete reading of the speech also no where threatens peace and tranquility 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 for few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent,” the judgement read.
Also, according to the habeas corpus petition, the doctor was granted bail by a competent court and was supposed to be released on bail. However, he was not released for four days and later the NSA was imposed on him. Hence, his detention was illegal as it was passed to nullify the effect of the bail granted by a competent court.
Khan had earlier hit the headlines after the 2017 tragedy at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, in which several children died due to lack of oxygen cylinders.