Kafeel Khan writes to UNHRC about widespread violations and misuse of NSA/UAPA in India

AGRA: Paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, who was recently absolved of charges under the stringent National Security Act (NSA), has written a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) informing about “wide spread” violation of international human right standards in India and misuse of draconian laws like NSA and UAPA to suppress voices of dissent.

Thanking the UNHR experts for urging the Indian government to immediately release human rights defenders, who have been arrested for peacefully protesting against CAA, Dr Khan, said that the government has not listened to their appeal and many activists remain incarcerated amid Covid-19 pandemic all over India.

He further said, “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”.

On June 26, the UN’s human rights body had written to the Indian government, mentioning 11 cases, among those 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”.

Khan in his letter also mentioned about his case and 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 high court, which called the whole process illegal.”

He also mentioned about Gorakhpur oxygen gas tragedy on August 10, 2017 in Baba Raghav Das Medical College in which many children lost their lives due to unavailability of liquid oxygen. High court categorically stated in on 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, hence he is 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. In his letter he called for an impartial probe into the two incidents.

“I wish both incidents should be investigated by CBI to rule out any complicity of state officials in these incidents,” reads the letter to the UN Human Right authorities.

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.”

At the end of the letter, Dr Khan, said that the use of stringent National Security Laws/UAPA against political dissenters, in the absence of any appeal to violence, is something to be condemned in all cases.

Source: Times of India

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