Highlights

  • Kerala governor confronts alleged SFI protesters
  • Afir Khan later held a protest against the alleged activists
  • Khan says CM promoting lawlessness in the state

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Kerala Governor Arif Khan confronts SFI, calls them 'goondas'; Centre extends Z+ security

The alleged SFI activists held black flag protests against state governor Arif Mohammad Khan while he was on his way to attend an event. Khan later staged a road protest demanding police action against the protesters

Kerala Governor Arif Khan confronts SFI, calls them 'goondas'; Centre extends Z+ security

High drama played out in this Kerala district on Saturday when State Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, facing SFI's black flag protest, got off his car, took on the agitating Left student wing members, sat on the roadside and hit out at the Chief Minister in what seemed to be yet another chapter in the Raj Bhavan vs the ruling LDF face-off.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Saturday extended Z+ security cover to Khan, who lashed out at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for "promoting lawlessness." A visibly irked Khan, on his way to Kottarakkara for an event, got out of his car at Nilamel, took on the agitating members of the Students Federation of India and sat on the roadside demanding police action against the activists of the CPI-M-affiliated SFI for staging a black flag protest against him.

While the BJP threw its weight behind Khan, State General Education Minister V Sivankutty said that no Governor of any state in the country has behaved in this manner.

The Congress-led UDF on the other hand said that this was all part of the ongoing political drama of the state government and the Governor.

Accusing Vijayan of "promoting lawlessness in the state", Khan said, "as head of the state, lawlessness shall not be tolerated".

The Governor also said that the "attacks" against him were being organised "to divert attention from the Left government's failures and provoke some drastic action (from him)".

"I am not going to oblige them," he said.

The Governor also termed the SFI activists as "goondas" and "daily wagers" of the Marxist veteran and the Left party.

"You go and show black flag, hit the car, come back and take your payment," he said.

After sitting there for over two hours, Khan left the place only after the police showed him a copy of the FIR registered against 17 SFI activists under non-bailable provisions of the law.

The dramatic scenes were witnessed at Nilamel in Kollam, located about 40 km from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

Less than an hour after what happened in Nilamel, the Kerala Raj Bhavan announced that the Ministry of Home Affairs has extended Z+ security cover of CRPF personnel to Khan.

"The Union Home Ministry has informed Kerala Raj Bhavan that Z+ Security cover of CRPF is being extended to Hon'ble Governor and Kerala Raj Bhavan," a post, on the Governor's X handle and Facebook page, said.

Speaking to reporters before leaving Nilamel, the Governor lashed out at Vijayan, saying the Marxist veteran was "promoting lawlessness in the state".

"It is him who is giving direction to the police to give protection to these lawbreakers against whom, including the state president of the organisation (SFI) many criminal cases are pending in the courts," Khan charged.

Khan said that he has no problems with protests as long as the black flags are waved from afar.

"But why hit my car? I had said earlier in Thiruvananthapuram that if you hit my car, I will get down. They hit my car today," he alleged.

He further questioned whether protestors would be allowed to line up on the roadside if the CM was travelling along that route.

"What treatment was meted out by the police to those who came near the bus of the Kerala sadas?" he asked.

He also asked why the police were not able to remove the protestors if they were only 17 in number as per the FIR, especially when there were much more police personnel on duty.

The Governor, while on his way from Thiruvananthapuram to attend a programme in Kottarakkara here, saw SFI protestors on the roadside near Nilamel waving black flags and banners, stating "Sanghi Chancellor go back" -- at him.

Khan ordered his vehicle to be stopped, got out and walked towards the SFI activists, shouting "aao" (come) at them.

As he rushed towards the protestors shouting at them, the police personnel deployed there acted as a barrier between him and the SFI workers who kept yelling slogans at Khan.

After the police removed the protestors from the area, Khan took a chair from a shop on the busy MC Road and sat down there demanding action against the agitators.

In the visuals aired on TV channels, a visibly angry Khan could also be seen talking tough to the police personnel.

He was heard telling his personal staff to get him the Police Commissioner or whosoever was there in his office.

"Else call the Prime Minister's Office (PMO)," he was heard saying.

When the officers there requested him to resume his journey, the Governor refused and shot back, "I will not go. You (police) were giving protection to them (protestors) here." "If the police itself is breaking the law, who will uphold the law," he was heard saying.

When reporters later asked Khan if he had staged a protest, he said it was not so.

"This is not any protest. Why should I protest? Why will I protest? I can take action. I was waiting for the FIR copy to come," Khan said.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan told reporters that the situation "clearly indicates" that the Home Department and Vijayan, who heads it, have failed to discharge their Constitutional duties.

He also said the CM should realise that the Governor cannot be deterred by such moves.

"He (CM) should understand that he is playing with fire," the MoS said.

Sivankutty, on the other hand, termed the incident as the "fourth show" of the Governor.

"The first show was when he got out of his vehicle while on his way to the Thiruvananthapuram airport when SFI activists waved black flags at him. The second one was the manner in which he concluded the government's customary policy address in the Assembly." "The third was his conduct during the Republic Day celebrations at the Central Stadium in the state capital and this is the fourth one," the minister said.

The SFI held black flag protests against the Governor at Thiruvananthapuram when Khan returned there for some events.

Khan and the Left government have been at loggerheads over several issues, primarily about the functioning of universities in the state and his non-signing of certain bills passed by the Assembly.


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