Kerala Guv hardens stand against CM Vijayan over black flag protest

PTI, Dec 12, 2023, 8:28 PM IST

New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Tuesday claimed that his car was “attacked” by the Students Federation of India activists at the behest of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as he has called for a report on the financial health of the state government.

Khan today hardened his stand against Vijayan over the ongoing SFI stir against him, reiterating that it was a “conspiracy” hatched by the chief minister while the protesters were acting as per his “instructions”.

Just because the state government is led by the Communists, Kerala does not become a totalitarian or a dictatorial state and “law shall prevail” there, Khan said.

He was speaking to reporters in New Delhi a day after he accused the CM of ‘conspiring’ to hurt him physically.

Khan claimed that the state government is “so piqued” by him after he has called for a report on Kerala’s financial crisis following the chief secretary’s affidavit to the High Court.

“The chief minister is saying the government is not bound to reply to every query of the Governor. Let him not reply. I will wait for 10 days. And then, if the state is in crisis, it is my duty to make my recommendations to the Central government,” Khan told reporters at Kerala Bhavan, a day after the incident in Thiruvananthapuram.

He said the state Chief Secretary in an affidavit to the high court has stated that the Kerala government is not in a position to disburse the pension of employees.

The state chief secretary also stated in the affidavit that the Kerala government is not in a position to honour the financial guarantees that it has given, he said, adding “Which means a financial emergency in the state. And I have asked for a report”.

Referring to the SFI students blocking the car, Khan noted that if anybody tries to overhaul the Governor, it is a cognisable offence and has to be dealt with under section 124 of IPC.

The Governor said he had already sent messages to the Chief Secretary and the state DGP making it clear that mere hauling up was not enough.

“This conspiracy has been hatched by the chief minister. It is as per his instruction, these people are working,” Khan charged.

“Who’s the Home Minister? The Chief Minister… Everything is being done as per his direction. It is he who has hatched this conspiracy and three days before these things happened, he made a public statement…,” he said.

He further said it was the start of the collapse of the Constitutional machinery in Kerala.

Recounting the dramatic protest against him on Monday, Khan said if it was not a high-end car, the windows would have shattered.

He also justified stepping out of his vehicle when the black flag protest by SFI activists was going on.

“… should I stay inside and wait till they shatter my car’s window and injure me?” he asked.

The Governor also sought to know what sections were invoked against KSU activists for throwing chappals against a bus in which the CM and the other ministers were travelling as part of the Nava Kerala Sadas.

After meeting Khan at Kerala Bhavan, Union Minister V Muralidharan and former president of the BJP’s state unit slammed the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government over Monday’s incident and said it depicted the dangerous situation and the level of law and order situation in Kerala.

“He was attacked thrice during his travel from the Raj Bhavan to the airport…. The Kerala chief minister and Communist Party (CPI-M) and the Communist Party secretary have been issuing threats to the Governor for the last few weeks,” Muralidharan alleged.

The Kerala CM and the Communist Party Secretary have been issuing threats to the Governor during the last few weeks, he alleged.

“The fact that the Governor is upholding the law and constitutional values besides taking a firm stand against the corruption and nepotism of the state government and the fact that the Supreme Court has upheld the view of the Governor has made the Left party take up the issue to the streets,” the union minister alleged.

Meanwhile, the SFI leadership today made it clear that they would continue their agitation against Governor Khan and his alleged moves to saffronise the universities in the southern state.

SFI state secretary P M Arsho accused the Governor of initiating various steps to saffronise the state universities and said nominating people with RSS and BJP backgrounds to the senates of Kerala and Calicut universities was the last instance in this regard.

He said they were protesting against the saffronisation of the universities by the Chancellor.

“Across the country we are seeing the RSS and the Sangh Parivar implementing their agenda and taking over the universities. We will continue our protest against filling up the universities with Sangh Parivar activists,” he told reporters here.

Ministers P Rajeev, A K Saseendran and V A Mohammed Riyas came out in support of SFI while hitting out at Khan.

Riyas targeted the opposition Congress for coming down on the ruling party’s youth outfit in this connection, saying they were preaching the politics of BJP inside and outside the assembly.

“What the SFI has done is an act worthy of appreciation. But, instead the Congress and Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan are playing the politics of BJP,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, Bharatheeya Vichara Kendra, a right-wing outfit termed as “highly objectionable”, the protest against Khan by the SFI activists.

“The necessary protocols that need to be adhered as part of the security detail of the Governor which is a Constitutional post, were not followed. Those concerned should be held accountable,” the outfit said in a release.

Governor Khan continued his tirade against the LDF government and Chief Minister Vijayan after his vehicle was allegedly hit by activists of the SFI, the student wing of the CPI(M), while he was on his way to the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to leave for Delhi on Monday evening.

Eighteen SFI activists were later arrested in connection with that incident.

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