Kafeel Khan, the Uttar Pradesh doctor jailed under the tough National Security Act (NSA) for an alleged speech against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, was freed from a jail in Mathura at midnight on Wednesday.
The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday called his detention illegal and ordered the government to free him immediately. The doctor's speech did not show any effort to promote hate or violence, the Allahabad High Court had said.
"I am thankful to the judiciary which has given an excellent order, which has clearly said that my speech was not to incite violence... and lastly to the STF (Special Task Force) who didn't encounter me (sic), who didn't kill me while bringing me from Mumbai to Mathura," Dr Kafeel Khan told NDTV in Rajasthan's Bharatpur where he was taken to immediately after his release.
"In Ramayana, Maharshi Valmiki had said that the Raja (king) should act for 'Raj Dharma'. In UP, the 'Raja' is not doing ''Raj Dharma'' but is doing 'Baal Hatth' (being stubborn like a child)," he told news agency PTI.
After the court verdict, when the jail authorities did not free the doctor for hours, his family had said they would file a contempt petition in the Allahabad High Court.
Dr Khan's mother Nuzhat Parveen said she will finally be able to "see, touch and feel" her son after a long time. "I am very happy that my son is coming out of the jail. I will be able to see him, touch him and feel him after a long time," Ms Parveen said on her way to Mathura jail, news agency PTI reported.
"My son is a good person and he is never against the country or society. Today is my daughter-in-law's birthday as well, and we are carrying a cake with us as she is in Mathura," she added.
Dr Khan was charged under the NSA for his speech against the CAA at a talk at Aligarh Muslim University late last year. The doctor from UP's Gorakhpur was arrested on January 29.
While he was first charged for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, charges under the NSA were invoked two days after he was given bail on February 10 this year.
At the Allahabad High Court, Dr Khan's lawyer Manoj Kumar said the the grounds for detention (under NSA) served to Dr Khan was in the form of a CD containing the copy of his alleged speech at Aligarh Muslim University. "But no instrument was provided to Dr Khan inside the jail for him to view the CD. Not even a script was given, so Dr Khan never found out what the basic allegations against him were," Mr Kumar had said.
Dr Khan was also suspended, arrested and jailed for his alleged role in the deaths of over 60 children at a government hospital in Gorakhpur due to alleged oxygen shortage in 2017. In September last year, Dr Khan claimed a UP government report cleared him of all major accusations, but the state government has denied it.