The hero of last year’s tragedy at Gorakhpur BRD Medical College, Dr Kafeel Khan, has finally opened up about the ordeal he went through during his confinement in jail for nearly nine months. In an exclusive interview with Janta Ka Reporter’s editor-in-chief, Rifat Jawaid, Dr Khan said that the vindictive state government had pushed his life into utter ruins.
On his sudden transformation from hero to villain in media, Dr Khan said, “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had to find a scapegoat to protect himself and hide his failure. Since both he and his health minister were in receipt of the letters (from the gas company), I think the foot soldiers had to be sacrificed to protect the king. Perhaps Yogi did not like the fact that the media projected me as an angel, sent from God. That’s the reason why he diverted the whole issue. After my arrest, nobody was questioning his government on their failures. The entire focus shifted to us.”
He went on to add, “You see, up until our arrests, the country’s media was putting the health minister in the dock by asking tough questions to him. Media was also asking why Adityanath as the state’s chief minister and a five-term MP from Gorakhpur should not have been held accountable for the tragedy. So, they (Adityanath and his government) had to kill someone to protect themselves. Later, no one was discussing the mass murder of children, but the news coverage began to revolve around Dr Kafeel Khan. People stopped asking questions such as ‘how many children died?’ ‘who were responsible?’ etc etc.”
Dr Khan also shared his agony of being kept with dreaded criminals inside a jail, which had nearly 10 times more under trials lodged than its capacity. He said that the jail authorities would often threaten him and subject him to mental torture by repeated threats that ‘there are many murder convicts here, you never know one of them will kill you one day.’ He said that this was to force him to accept a crime that he never committed.
Speaking about the attack on his younger brother last month, Dr Khan said that remembering about the attack sent ‘shivers down my spine’ even today. “I am surprised that my brother was attacked with multiple rounds of firing literally 500 meters from where the chief minister (Adityanath) was resting at a temple. More than a month has passed and they’ve not been able to make any headway in the case,” he said.
Dr Khan’s younger brother Kashif Jameel was shot at by unknown bike-borne assailants in Gorakhpur on 10 June. He had received three bullet injuries.
Dr Khan had shot to fame after he single-handedly saved dozens of lives at BRD Medical College Hospital by personally buying and ferrying oxygen cylinders to the hospital when more than 300 children were killed due to non-supply of oxygen in a single month. Instead of rewarding his heroic efforts, the state police allegedly at the behest of the top functionaries of the state government, had jailed him for more than eight months until the Allahabad High Court granted him bail this year.