Media’s hero Dr. Kafeel Khan, who had shot to limelight after being wrongly applauded as the man of action during the BRD Hospital tragedy in Gorakhpur is once again in trouble.
This time around Khan has been arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police in Mumbai in connection with the allegations of delivering a provocative speech about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at a talk in the Aligarh Muslim University last month.
Kafeel Khan was arrested by the UP Police on Wednesday, with the assistance of the Mumbai Police. He was arrested at the Mumbai airport, and had visited the Maharashtra Capital to take part in the Mumbai Bagh anti-CAA protests.
An official from the Mumbai Police said, “Officials of the UP Special Task Force arrested Dr Kafeel Khan in a case which was registered at Civil Lines Police Station under section 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) of IPC. Our police team helped our UP counterparts on their request.”
It is important to mention here that an FIR was lodged against Dr. Khan for giving an inflammatory speech at the Aligarh Muslim University. The FIR which was registered on December 13 stated that Khan had tried to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere at the Central University and disturb communal harmony.
In what makes Khan’s role that much more suspicious is the fact that anti-CAA violence had taken grip of the Aligarh Muslim University last month after the CAA was passed in the Parliament. His speech seems to have been made at a time when rumour mills and the radical elements were in full flow trying to fuel communal violence against the CAA.
While Dr. Khan seems to have landed in fresh trouble, this is not for the first time that he has come under the scanner. He was the head of encephalitis ward in BRD Hospital. Encephalitis is the disease that had caused the death of several children in the Gorakhpur hospital on the fateful day.
Initially the mainstream media had tried to make a Messiah out of Dr. Kafeel Khan. Misleading reports had suggested that he had collected several oxygen cylinders from various nursing homes, saving the lives of hundreds of children. It was propagated that Khan had borrowed three oxygen cylinders from other nursing homes when the oxygen supply at the BRD hospital had dipped suddenly.
It was also being said that Dr. Kafeel Khan bought 17 oxygen cylinders out of his own pocket in order to save as many lives as possible. Thereafter, his removal as the nodal officer at the BRD hospital, and replacement by Dr. Bhupendra Sharma was projected as a perfidious move on the part of the government by the media. Dr. Kafeel Khan was shown to be a victim of a hasty decision taken by the government.
Later, it came under serious doubt if Dr. Khan was really the hero that the mainstream media was making out of him. There were allegations that it was Kafeel Khan who had been stealing oxygen cylinders from the hospital for his personal clinic. As a necessary corollary of this allegation, the insufficiency of oxygen supply at the hospital was also attributed to how Khan had been allegedly transporting oxygen cylinders from the Government Hospital to his personal Clinic.
While the mainstream media had launched a loud campaign to project Khan as a hero, he was charged with negligence for having failed to inform his seniors about the dwindling oxygen levels at the hospital that had resulted in dozens of deaths. There were also allegations to the effect that the three oxygen cylinders which he had purportedly borrowed from some nursing home were actually taken from his personal clinic. Adverts of his clinic were also found pasted on the walls of the BRD hospital. The mainstream media narrative was largely overshadowed by such serious allegations.
Last year, an Uttar Pradesh government investigation had cleared him of the allegations of medical negligence, corruption and dereliction of duty. However, the Uttar Pradesh government had later clarified that Khan was acquitted only on two counts, viz. dereliction in duty and failure to inform his seniors about the paucity of oxygen cylinders. The state government had then clarified that he was not cleared of the allegations of:
- Practising with a private hospital
- Failing to inform the Government of his private practice.
Now, the FIR against Khan for an inflammatory speech against the CAA and subsequent arrest have really come as a telling blow to the controversial doctor. He seems to have yet again fallen into legal trouble.