NCHRO Delhi Leadership Meets Dr.Kafeel’s family at Gorakhpur.
Ansar Indori, Exco Member, NCHRO made a two day courtesy visit to Dr.Kafeel Khan’s house at Gorakhpur(27 & 28 April 2018). Met his brothers Kashif and Adil, rendered the support of NCHRO for Justice. He also met the lawyers who currently handling Dr.Kafeel’s case.
In the aftermath of the Gorakhpur BRD Medical College and Hospital tragedy in August 2017, Dr Kafeel Khan was hailed in the media as a hero for arranging oxygen cylinders and preventing many deaths. Thereafter the state government said the children died of encephalitis, the police arrested Khan for attempt to murder and graft. Dr Kafeel is among the nine accused in the case where 63 children died, due to disruption in supply of oxygen to the hospital owing to non-payment of dues to the vendor. The children had suffocated to death after the Hospital ran out of oxygen in August. Pushpa Sales, the company contracted to supply liquid oxygen, had cut off the supply after sending repeated reminders to the state-run hospital that its dues of approximately Rs 65 lakh needed to be paid.
Dr. Kafeel Khan is in prison almost eight months, though his family had applied for bail several times. Khan has written a disheartened letter from jail, claiming that he has been made a ‘scapegoat’ for an administrative failure. However, to this day, the Uttar Pradesh government has maintained that the oxygen shortage is not why the children died, that they died instead of natural causes.The UP government seems content punishing easy targets to hide administrative failure.
The sessions court rejected his bail once. Mr. Khan faces charges under attempt to commit culpable homicide, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy, which fall under Sections 308, 409 and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code, respectively. The additional charges of corruption and private practice have already been dropped during investigation for lack of evidence.
Close to tears, Dr Kafeels family, described the effect Kafeel’s detention is having on the family. “It’s completely traumatic for all of us, utterly traumatic. He’s a man of integrity; he’s not someone who deserves this. He stayed and worked in the public health service because he wanted to save lives”.
By persecuting medical professionals for doing their duty, trust and confidence in the entire practice of medicine is eroded in Uttar Pradesh. The NCHRO condemns such practices that threaten gravely the safety of physicians and the provision of health care services. The protection of health professionals is fundamental, so that they can fulfill their duties to provide care for those in need.
The NCHRO considers that punishing a physician for providing care to a patient constitutes a flagrant breach of humanitarian and human rights standards as well as medical ethics. Ultimately it contravenes the principle of humanity that includes the imperative to preserve human dignity.