By Trafdar Zaman

While National Security Act (NSA) has been enforced on Dr Kafeel Khan, who was jailed in 2017 after 60 children died at a Gorakhpur hospital due to shortage of oxygen supply but acquitted later for hate speech at the Aligarh Muslim University. His speech was against the ongoing protest of anti-CAA NRC. In his order, the Aligarh district magistrate said the speech was a ‘precursor’ to the rampant violence and stone pelting that the campus witnessed on December 15. Khan was arrested by a UP Special Task Force in Mumbai on January 29.

It looks like Dr. Khan had no intention to turn himself into activists and was working as a practicing Doctor. The sudden tragedy shook the entire India. Indian middle class feel pride in saying that we are heading towards being the next “Vishguru “ but the death of 60 children due to basic needs like oxygen exposed our tall claims.

The death of children due to oxygen shortage in August 2017 had become a major issue for the newly formed government for the Yogi Adityanath who took office five months prior to this incident, The state government suspended Khan blaming him directly for the tragedy.

The entire biased media coverage which declared Dr. Kafeel as soul responsible for the deaths and the police inquiry with NSA charges imposed on him, In all these time, we can assume that he was exposed to the broken system of our nation.

Sympathy starts pouring from other social activists in his support.  In this course of time many social activists came into his connection from Aligarh, JNU and Jamia.

When the Anti CAA NRC protest broke off, Dr. Kafeel who already had a taste of a broken system, decided to join the protest site organized by Student Activists of Jamia and Aligrah. Both universities  were the center of Anti CAA NRC protest apart from Shaheen Bagh. These were the same student activists who also stood with him during his hard times when he was held responsible for the corruption in the medical sector in relation to shortage of Oxygen.

Dr. Kafeel can be seen in many viral videos where he was working with poverty Stricken people to give them medical services.

By decoding the incidence of life of Dr. Kafeel we can assume that he is a practicing Doctor but circumstances and plight of people made him an activist.

In the history of this century we also know another Doctor who was turned into an activist by the force of circumstances and later revolutionary by his own choice.

In 1952, a semester before  ” Ernesto Rafael ” is about  to complete his medical degree, he and his older friend Alberto Granado, a biochemist, leave Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina to travel across South America. In the middle of their journey they worked for a leper colony in Peru for three months, just like Dr. Kafeel can be seen working with slum inhabitants who are affected with floods in many viral videos.  –

The main purpose is initially fun and adventure for both medical students. They desire to see as much of Latin America as they can, more than 14,000 kilometres (8,700 mi) in just four and a half months on their motorcycle. But the entire journey exposed them with the system and the disparity of resources in Latin America.

Both the students in their journey witness the poverty of the indigenous peasants, But it was when they reach the mountain of Machu Pichu of Peru , the medical student “Ernesto Rafael  ” gets to see the ruins of civilization. His musings are then somberly refocused to how an indigenous civilization capable of building such beauty could be destroyed by the creators of the nearby urban elite city Lima. Lima is the present capital and most urban city of Peru.

In the case with Dr. Kafeel and many such other activists that are fighting against CAA NRC get a similar realization when they saw that Jamia Millia University library was destroyed by Police, This incidence is symbolic to urban elite city of Lima which was the reason for the destruction of Machu Pichu or say Jamia Library.

Among one incident of his journey, Ernesto Rafael swam across the river to reach the leaper’s colony which was separated from the other colony because of a river flowing between them. People living on the other side of the river were unable to get any medical help and services.  Ernesto Rafael  took the risk even though he himself was having Asthma.

We can see that Dr. Kafeel risks his life and is still vocal about the cause without bothering the high possibility of getting affected with Coronavirus in jail.

Ernesto Rafael, at the end of the journey celebrated his birthday in the same colony. A medical student with no political ideology was made to become an activist due to circumstances. He gave his first political speech on his birthday. 

This is very much similar to Dr. Kafeel speech in Aligarh University because of which he is put behind the bars and NSA was imposed on him due to that same speech. 

After his journey ended, Ernesto Rafael returned back to medical university and completed his studies in medicine and joined the uprising against the Batista regime in Cuba.

Ernesto Rafael is well known around the world by his full name “ Ernesto Che Guevara” who was later assassinated by CIA for his revolutionary roles.


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