Wednesday, September 2 2020

Dive In

I have been warning the government that a massive tsunami is coming and they are not clear about what they have to do. India should be preparing itself not just for COVID-19 but for the economic devastation that is coming. I am saying it again and again, nobody is listening to me… It's going to be the most painful thing this country is going to suffer… In Andaman/Nicobar, before the tsunami came, the water went out. When the water went out, everybody went to get to fishes. And then the water came in. So the water will come.

That’s Rahul Gandhi channeling his inner Nostradamus back in March—right at the outset of the pandemic. Those prophetic words appeared to come true yesterday when our GDP numbers were released. While Gandhi has not exactly covered himself in political glory, he deserves credit for getting this one right. Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

The acquittal of Kafeel Khan

The TLDR: Dr Kafeel Khan walked out of Mathura Jail after spending nine months in custody thanks to a ruling by the Allahabad High Court. The paediatrician was first arrested three years ago and has since been arrested multiple times. His case reveals how the government—be it in Uttar Pradesh or Delhi—has wilfully misused the law to impose a most unjust ‘order’. 


Remind me, who is Kafeel Khan?

He is a paediatrician at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College. Three years ago, he was widely credited with saving the lives of children in the encephalitis ward—when the hospital unexpectedly ran out of oxygen. Despite his best efforts, 63 children died as a result of that tragedy. But within days, Yogi Adityanath’s government suspended the doctor—and blamed him for the deaths.


Since then he has been charged with a variety of crimes and has been in and out of jail. 


What are the charges?

It’s a very long and damning list:


  • Khan was first arrested in September 2017 when he was charged with culpable homicide, criminal intent to murder, negligence and having a private practice while employed by the government.
  • Khan spent seven months in jail until he got bail in April 2018.
  • A month later, he was arrested for creating a ruckus at a hospital—where he was investigating the deaths of children. 
  • He was let go but arrested again the very next day for opening a bank account using fake documents. The police claimed Khan had made transactions worth Rs 2 crore through this account, including paying for his medical studies at Manipal University.
  • In September 2019, a departmental inquiry cleared him of all charges relating to Gorakhpur. But the UP government has since set up its own inquiry which is still underway.
  • In December 2019, Khan participated in a number of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. 
  • He was first charged with making “inflammatory” remarks—including references to “mota bhai” (Home Minister Amit Shah) and the RSS in a speech on December 12—and arrested for that crime in January. 
  • The reference to Shah was as follows: “Mota Bhai teaches us that we will become Hindu or Muslim but not human by CAA, we will be made second class citizens after that by implementation of NRC they will trouble you by saying your father's documents are not correct you will be made to run around. This is a fight for existence and we will have to fight.”
  • Khan secured bail and was set to be released on February 13 when the Yogi government brought the big gun out—i.e. the National Security Act.

The latest case


In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Buckle up for an ugly US election
  • An Indian at the US open
  • Anoushka Shankar reveals her father’s pain
  • Facebook under friendly fire
  • New Delhi slaps back at Beijing


Smart And Curious

  • Being a CEO for a long time can cause permanent brain damage
  • The two basic ways to cut calories

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