Delhi: On demanding the release of Gandhian activist Faisal Khan, US based NGOs, Hindus for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council and Amnesty International USA organized a joined press conference on December 10. Faizal Khan was arrested on 3rd November for doing namaz in a Hindu temple in Mathura. Prominent social activists like Medha Patkar, Rabbi Alissa Wise, Anand Patwardhan, Rajmohan Gandhi and Ani Zonneveld have raised their concerns in the arrest of the jailed activist.
Faisal Khan is the national convenor of Khudai Kidmatgar (Servants of God) India which is an organization and movement started by freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Hindus for Human Rights in a statement said "Faizal has helped to establish Sabka Ghar (The People's House) in Delhi and Kanyakumari, dedicated to all those killed in the name of religion, caste, gender, race and boundaries."
He was arrested by police when Faisal Khan and three other members of Khudai Khidmatgar conducted a 5-day yatra (journey) in Brij, a part of Uttar Pradesh which is a place of pilgrimage for Krishna devotees. At the time of midday namaz (Muslim prayer), Faisal was going to pray outside while the priest is said to have invited him to pray right there in the temple. Faisal Khan was arrested in Delhi and jailed in Mathura, UP. The same priest that had invited Faisal to pray had filed the FIR. The charges filed against Faizal Khan included "conducting Muslim prayers in a Hindu temple without permission and with intent to create community disharmony and creating Khudai Kidmatgar as a pretext for raising funds from foreign sources for nefarious activities."
Earlier last November, BJP had accused the link between Faisal Khan's organization with Congress and said he had been running a 'vehement campaign for Rahul Gandhi.
The collective of activists who are demanding the release of Faisal said in a statement that "The press conference demands the immediate release of him who has been unjustly arrested by the police. Police should drop all the charges against him as soon as possible." Since the arrest of Faizal Khan, scholars and social activists in India have been organizing various action forms for his release. The #FreeFaizalKhan petition has been started by demanding the same. The Hindu clergy and community members have issued a solidarity statement for the demand to release Faisal Khan.