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Indian Americans hail the release of Dr. Kafeel Khan, denounce filing of “fake cases” against Muslims, rights activists

India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 4—The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group committed to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has welcomed the release of Dr. Kafeel Khan, a whistleblower Indian Muslim doctor, from prison.

IAMC also welcomed the release of Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita and former AMU student leaders Sharjeel Usmani and Farhan Zuberi.

IAMC lauded the Allahabd High Court, which ordered his release this week, for rejecting the government’s claim that the 39-year-old pediatrician had tried to “increase hatred, enmity and disharmony towards Hindus” in a speech that Dr. Kafeel delivered at the Aligarh Muslim University on December 13, 2019. The state government had booked charges under the stringent National Security Act.

“That the High Court unequivocally ruled that Dr. Khan “did not promote hatred or violence” but, in fact, gave a call for “unity among citizens” in his speech exposed that the state government’s true intent behind incarcerating Dr. Khan is to persecute India’s Muslims for protesting India’s new anti-Muslim citizenship law”, IAMC said in its statement.

“In his speech from December that caused his arrest, Dr. Kafeel Khan had blamed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for its economic failures and rising unemployment, and criticized it for bringing the citizenship law with the sole aim of rendering millions of Muslims illegal migrants in their country of birth,” said Ahsan Khan, President of the Indian American Muslim Council.

“As the High Court said, he broke no law but actually performed his duty as a law-abiding citizen in a democracy, but was punished nonetheless,” added Khan.

It is appalling that the Uttar Pradesh government has repeatedly filed false criminal cases against Dr. Khan over the last three years. He was jailed for seven months in 2017 on the false accusation that his negligence had caused the death of 70 minor patients at a government hospital when several investigations revealed that Dr. Khan had, in fact, worked day and night to save hundreds of children from certain death by arranging oxygen for them with his own money.

“The Uttar Pradesh government, which is also run by Mr. Modi’s political party, the BJP, has viciously attacked, killed and imprisoned hundreds of Muslims over the last seven months in a bid to terrorize India’s largest religious minority and to browbeat it into submission to the new citizenship law,” said Syed Ali, Vice President of IAMC.

Denouncing the Indian government for filing allegedly false cases against Muslims and rights activists, IAMC also demanded immediately release of  other Muslim activists and human rights defenders such as Ishrat Jahan, Natasha Narwal, Meeran Haider, Sharjeel Imam, Khalid Saifi, Akhil Gogoi, Dhairjya Konwar, Bittu Sonowal, Manash Konwar, who were arrested during the anti-CAA protests. IAMC has also demanded the release of former Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, poet-activist Varavara Rao, Ex-DU professor GN Saibaba, social activists and intellectuals Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha, who were arrested in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case.

“Mr. Modi’s government is adamant at sabotaging the right to protest and the freedom of expression, which have long been the cornerstone of the Indian democracy,” Mr. Ahsan Khan of IAMC said.

IAMC is dedicated to promoting the common values of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for human rights that form the basis of the world’s two largest secular democracies – the United States and India.

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