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Dr. Kafeel Ahmad Khan (right) with senior journalist Seema Mustafa at Press Club of India in New Delhi on 09 May 2018.

If Yogi government revokes my suspension, it’s good. Otherwise, I will start an encephalitis treatment center in this very Gorakhpur and will treat affected children completely free, announced Dr. Kafeel of BRD Hospital

MUMTAZ ALAM | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI: Though the unjustified action by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath leading to his arrest and imprisonment for eight months financially devastated the family of Dr. Kafeel Ahmad Khan, the same seems to have made Dr. Khan very strong and determined to do something big for the encephalitis-affected children of Gorakhpur.

“My family suffered a lot. The business of my brother was closed. My brother-in-law shut down his own business. They were running from one police station to another, from Gorakhpur to Lucknow to Allahabad. They approached all and begged for mercy for me. They asked why I was being targeted when I had done nothing wrong. But none heeded. My mother and my wife met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath twice. All said I will get justice. But justice took such a long time,” said Dr. Kafeel while interacting with press in the national capital, first time after his release from the Gorakhpur jail late last month.

Following the deaths of dozens of children due to shortage of oxygen at the BRD Hospital in Gorakhpur in August 2017, Dr. Khan was suspended from the hospital, though he was not holding any administrative post. He was later arrested in early September 2017 and sent to jail. He got bail from the Allahabad High Court on 25th April this year.

He said that during seven months in jail, only two-three of his colleagues and friends came to meet him in jail. It was only after his wife and brother went to public telling them the truth, people launched a campaign for his release on social media. His wife and elder brother had addressed press in Delhi on 21st April and made public his 10-page letter written in jail. The letter had chilling details about what happened on fateful day of 10th August 2017 at the Gorakhpur hospital when he himself was on a sanctioned leave, and how a brief interaction with Yogi when he visited the hospital after the tragedy turned his life upside down.

But when he came out of the jail on 28th April night, he was overwhelmed to see hundreds of people waiting for him outside.

“Nobody came to meet me in jail, only two-three of my friends, colleagues came to meet me, but when I came out I saw thousands of people standing outside the jail with placards in their hands, even those who lost their kids were also there. I was overwhelmed with the emotion and love. Later I knew there was a big campaign on social media for my release,” said Dr. Khan.

I Won’t Leave Gorakhpur, Nor India

After his release, he got offers from across India and abroad. But he said No to all.

“Soon after my release, people began calling me from across the country and even from abroad. I got calls from Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kerala, West Bengal, I got call from London, US, Dubai, Canada. They asked me to leave Gorakhpur, come there and settle there.”

“No. I am not leaving Gorakhpur. I am going to fight the encephalitis. If we all leave Gorakhpur, children will continue dying. Around 25,000 children have died in the last 25 years due to encephalitis (a serious illness caused by an infection that makes the brain swell). Those who survive the disease are left handicapped for life, they can’t walk, can’t talk and even can’t eat from mouth, and they depend on nose-feeding. That disease is very strange disease and people are dying of it. If we leave Gorakhpur, who will see them?

Dr. Khan received huge applause at the Press Club when he said he won’t leave Gorakhpur, nor India.

“I won’t leave India. I won’t leave Gorakhpur either,” said Dr. Khan to the huge applause of the audience. “My soul resides in this soil. If I had to leave the country, I would have done it in 2013 when I had got fellowship in Australia with Rs 4 lakh monthly stipend plus fellowship.”

If Govt. Doesn’t Revoke My Suspension, I Will…

While interacting with the press, Dr. Khan revealed his future plan to the huge applause of the audience.

“I have a plan. I will try for revocation of my suspension. If the government revokes my suspension, it is good. Otherwise, I will start an encephalitis treatment center in this very Gorakhpur,” said Dr. Khan to the huge applause of the audience.

“I will open this center with the support from NGOs. It will be like a corporate hospital, but all treatment here will be free.”

“There will be no shortage of medicine, no shortage of doctors and no shortage of any oxygen,” announced Dr. Khan amidst big clapping.

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