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HC asks UP govt to release Kafeel Khan, drop NSA charges

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The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday gave a major relief to Dr Kafeel Khan booked under the stringent National Security Act (NSA). It ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure the immediate release of Kafeel Khan and the dropping of NSA charges against him.

The court called his detention illegal. It remarked that his speech does not show any effort to promote hate or violence.

Khan was booked under the National Security Act (NSA) and arrested from Mumbai in January. He was arrested for his alleged provocative speech at Aligarh Muslim University in December 2019 during the anti-CAA protests.

The FIR filed on December 13, 2019, says Khan made an attempt to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere at the university. It also alleges that he disturbed communal harmony.

DM ignored true intent of speech

A complete reading of the speech prima facie does not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. It also nowhere threatens peace and tranquillity of the city of Aligarh,” the high court said.

“It appears that the District Magistrate had selective reading and selective mention for few phrases from the speech ignoring its true intent,” the court said.

NSA imposed after court granted bail

On February 10, Khan was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court. But, he was not immediately released by Mathura jail authorities. His family then moved court in Aligarh, claiming contempt of the HC order.

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The court issued a fresh release order on February 13. But before it could be executed, the authorities invoked the National Security Act against him.

Gorakhpur children death issue

The paediatrician 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.

NSA introduced in 1980

Introduced in 1980, the strict National Security Act empowers the government to detain people, without being charged in court, for up to a year if they suspect that they could disrupt public order, endanger the security of India or its ties with foreign countries.

 

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