Kerala governor angry with police, stages sit-in protest on the road

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan expressed frustration with the police for not taking action against SFI activists protesting by the roadside

“You (pointing at police officials) are responsible for this, I will not go from here," Khan said (photo: National Herald archives)
“You (pointing at police officials) are responsible for this, I will not go from here," Khan said (photo: National Herald archives)
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IANS

Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday blew his top against state police officials for not upholding the law, and is sitting on the road in protest at Nilamel, about 60 km from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

Khan was on his way to a function about 70 km from the capital, and when his motorcade reached Nilamel, it met about two dozen activists of the SFI Students' Federation of India, the student wing of the CPI(M) — standing by the wayside, waving black flags and shouting.

Seeing this, Khan stopped his car and walked toward the protesters, expressing his anger against the police. He then sat on a chair fetched from a nearby tea stall and asked his secretary Mohan to immediately call the commissioner of police .

“If not, call the prime minister. You (pointing at police officials) are responsible for this, I will not go from here. You are giving them (protesters) protection. You are breaking the law, if not you (police), who will uphold the law?” said a visibly fuming Khan as police officials surrounded him.

Khan was peeved as the police did not arrest the protesting activists before his motorcade passed through, telling police officials that had such a demonstration been held when the chief minister passed by, the police would immediately arrest the protesters. He then clearly stated that unless the protesters were taken into custody, he would not leave.

Relations between Khan and the state's ruling LDF government have been deteriorating progressively since the governor assumed his post in 2019. In November 2023, the state government moved the Supreme Court against Khan, accusing him of deliberately holding up bills passed by the state Assembly, which drew a reprimand for Khan from the top court.

In December 2023, Khan lashed out at chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, accusing the veteran Leftist leader of "conspiring" to hurt him physically. The scathing accusation came after the governor's vehicle was allegedly hit by SFI activists while he was on his way to Thiruvananthapuram international airport to leave for Delhi.

The following day, Kerala Police registered a case against seven SFI workers who allegedly obstructed and attacked the governor's vehicle, under IPC sections 143, 147, 149, 283 and 353. Section 124 — which deals with assaulting the president of India or a governor of a state with the intent to restrain the exercise of any lawful power — was later added on the instruction of the governor.

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