New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh government has extended Dr Kafeel Khan’s detention under the National Security Act (NSA) 1980 for a period of three months.
The extension order dated 4 August said the decision was being taken on the basis of the report submitted by the NSA Advisory Board, which is constituted by the government for dealing with cases under the Act, and the Aligarh district magistrate.
The order, signed by Vinay Kumar, deputy secretary, Home (Security) Department, said that there were “sufficient grounds” for his continued detention. The doctor is currently lodged in Mathura jail in Uttar Pradesh.
Khan has been in jail since 29 January 2020, when he was arrested for a speech he delivered at the Aligarh Muslim University on 12 December 2019. An FIR was registered against him the next day under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion). The FIR blamed his speech for trying to “disrupt the harmony between the communities”, and said it was “also likely to create a law and order situation”.
Later, Sections 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) were added to the FIR, which referred to certain sentences from his speech, including mention of “mota bhai” (Gujarati for big brother) and the RSS.
While he was granted bail on 10 February, he wasn’t released and was slapped with NSA charges instead on 13 February. He will now be in jail until 13 November.
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Detention had been extended once before
The day before the initial three-month period was to get over on 13 May, Khan’s detention was extended by three months. This was done because according to the Act, the government can only pass a detention order for a maximum period of three months at one go. However, the total period of detention under NSA Act can go up to 12 months.
Khan’s detention is currently under challenge in the Allahabad High Court, through a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother. The case was first heard on 16 May, and has been pending since.
On the last date of hearing, on 5 August, the court gave 10 working days to government authorities to file their response and posted the next hearing for 19 August.
However, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the high court to decide this plea within 15 days.
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