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SFI running Calicut University: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on banners against him

Enraged by the banners outside the university guest house terming him a 'sanghi' and demanding he 'go back', Khan alleged that these were put up by the state police on the directions of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

PTI Malappuram Published 18.12.23, 09:45 AM
Arif Mohammed Khan

Arif Mohammed Khan File picture

The Calicut University campus on Sunday witnessed dramatic scenes of SFI banners against Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan being pulled down by police and then being installed again by the CPI(M)'s student outfit which threatened to put up more such posters in the varsity by morning.

Enraged by SFI banners outside the Calicut University guest house terming him a "sanghi" and demanding he "go back", Khan alleged that these were put up by the state police on the directions of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.


In TV visuals from the university, the governor was seen talking to his secretary at the Raj Bhavan over phone and asking him to send a "notice" to the vice chancellor asking whether the police were informed about these banners.

Khan also instructed that an explanation be sought from the VC on how banners against the chancellor were allowed to be put up by the Students' Federation of India (SFI) in various parts of the university. "How are these banners there? Have you taken any action? If the reply comes, action has to be taken against this tomorrow," he was heard saying over the phone.

Hours later, the Raj Bhavan in a statement blamed the chief minister and police for the posters "defamatory to the governor".

At the Calicut University, the governor lashed out at police for not removing the banners.

"How come this (banner) is here? I am asking you (police) if CM was staying here, would you allow this? You want to insult me? Enough is enough. You are trying to make a mockery of law and order," an incensed Khan shouted at police.

"If not now, in 3-4 months you will have to reply. This CM is not going to remain forever. Don't think you will go unaccountable. Don't be under that impression. You will not go unaccountable," the governor said.

He also threatened to leave the guest house immediately and demanded that his car be brought there. "I will go from here and no police person will follow me," he said.

Khan called the police "shameless" and also said the SFI, the student wing of the CPI(M), appeared to be running the university.

"Shameless people. SFI is running the university. They will put the banners outside the guest house and you (police) will have them there?" he asked.

In the face of his ire, police personnel deployed for his security pulled down the banners.

Shortly thereafter, SFI members arrived there under the leadership of their state secretary P M Arsho and put up more banners with one of them saying -- "down down chancellor".

They shouted slogans against the governor, allegedly called him a "scoundrel", and also burned an effigy of him.

Arsho and the SFI activists also threatened and intimidated police personnel there against interfering with their banners and suggested that the force concentrate on their duty of protecting the governor.

The SFI leader also accused police of bending over backwards for a "sanghi". More such banners would be put up in the university by Monday morning, Arsho said.

The CPI(M) state secretariat also lashed out at the governor and threw its weight behind the student outfit.

CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan, in a statement, alleged that the Raj Bhavan's release was issued after a meeting with BJP leaders. He also termed the governor's actions unconstitutional.

Govindan alleged that Khan was trying to play politics by filling universities with RSS supporters.

"This is a continuation of the saffronisation of universities. The students' protest against this is a constitutional democratic right. The SFI is an independent student body. The chancellor is constantly taunting and insulting the chief minister to oppose the ongoing strike by the SFI," he said.

The statement issued by the Raj Bhavan said, "Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has taken serious note of the action of the state police, on the direction of the chief minister, in placing posters defamatory to the governor in the campus of the Calicut University." "The black banners and posters have been placed inside the campus, just outside the university guest house where the governor is staying. The governor feels that this cannot happen without the direction of the chief minister and that this clearly is the beginning of the collapse of the constitutional machinery in the state." It also said that Khan was of the view that "such deliberate actions of the chief minister precipitate the breakdown of constitutional machinery".

Visuals on TV showed Khan, accompanied by his security detail, pointing out the SFI banners -- which referred to him as a 'sanghi' and demanded that he "go back" -- to be photographed. One SFI banner read -- 'Sanghi Chancellor vapas jao'.

Khan, who is presently in this north Kerala district to take part in various private and official functions at the Calicut University, took note of the banners after returning to the guest house.

He had decided to stay at the guest house as a challenge to the SFI's earlier statement that he won't be allowed to enter any of the universities in his capacity as chancellor.

The SFI has been staging widespread protests against the governor alleging that he has been pushing the BJP-RSS nominees to the senate of various universities in Kerala using his authority as the chancellor of the universities in the state.

The student outfit has been alleging that Khan's actions were part of the saffronisation agenda of the BJP.

Khan, a day ago, had reiterated that the SFI activists were "criminals" to whom he was not accountable to explain any of his decisions. He had alleged that the protesting SFI students were "criminals hired by the chief minister".

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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