Incarcerated Dr Kafeel Writes Open Letter From Jail, Describes Condition Inside as Hellish

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Drawing a picture of the overcrowded jail, he wrote “The entire barrack seems like fish market infused with all kinds of smells including someone coughing, sneezing, farting, urinating or sweating. Some people snore, some fight, some scratch themselves”.

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – “I don’t know why I am being punished. I don’t know when I will be able to see my children, my wife, my mother and my brothers and sister,” wrote Gorakhpur doctor Khafeel Khan from Mathura jail in Uttar Pradesh. Khan is in detention under the National Security Act over a speech he gave during an anti-CAA protest in Aligarh.

In the letter, he describes the condition inside the jail as ‘hellish’.  Khan, who is in jail for the last five months, was granted bail by a local court. But the Yogi Adityanath government prevented his release by invoking the draconian NSA against him.

In the ‘open letter’, Khan narrates the unhygienic and suffocating conditions through which he is going through in the crowded jail. He said the jail which has a capacity of housing 500 people is hosting 1,600 prisoners.

“With just one attached toilet, 125-150 inmates, the smell of their sweat and urine mixed with unbearable heat due to electricity cuts makes life hell over here: A living hell indeed,” wrote Khan in Hindi detailing the condition of food and daily routine of his life in the jail.

He said the toilets are so unhygienic that the herds of flies and mosquitoes come at him when he reaches near the toilet room after waiting long hours in the line. This condition is so unbearable that he starts vomiting.

According to him, the food which is provided in the jail is not eatable. He used to get fruits from visitors but because of lockdown on one comes to see him.

Drawing a picture of the overcrowded jail, he wrote “The entire barrack seems like fish market infused with all kinds of smells including someone coughing, sneezing, farting, urinating or sweating. Some people snore, some fight, some scratch themselves”.

In this condition, he is not able to sleep but spend his night waiting for the morning, he says. Due to suffocating condition of the jail, he is not able to read as well. “I try to read but cannot concentrate. It sometimes feels that I might fall due to dizziness caused by that suffocation. So I keep on drinking water,” he added.

Khan’s letter has triggered a Twitter campaign with many people demanding immediate release of the doctor who is ready to make contribution in the fight against coronavirus. In the past, he had written a letter to the Prime Minister offering his services to fight the epidemic. In his current letter, he repeats his offer and wish to fight the Covid-19 along with frontline health workers.

On Twitter, many people have expressed their anger against Chief Minister Adityanath pointing out that the government has kept a doctor in jail while a gangster like Vikas Dubey was out even after killing eight policemen.

“This is so cruel . An innocent doctor being subject to this ! Even criminals deserve better .indian Jusiciary should hang their head in shame for such blatant misuse of power . #releasekafeelkhan,” wrote one Onir.

“Let’s us remember Dr Kafeel Khan on #NationalDoctorsDay who is imprisoned under National Security Act for exposing the poor medical infrastructure of Uttar Pradesh’s hospitals,” wrote CPI(M) leader Md. Salim.

National Doctor’s Day 2020 was celebrated in India on July 1 to thank physicians and doctors for their dedicated services to patients. The day honours the contribution and dedication of the doctors in the worst of times. Salim’s message was re-tweeted 1,500 times and generated 4,800 Likes.

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