Roadside sit-in fetches Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan CRPF Z-plus security

The governor claimed that the protestors were on the road because of instructions from Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan (photo: @KeralaGovernor/X)
Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan (photo: @KeralaGovernor/X)

Ashlin Mathew

Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan was on Saturday provided with CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) Z-plus security by the Union home ministry after his impromptu sit-in protest at Kollam where Students' Federation of India (SFI) activists waved black flags near his convoy.

The SFI activists had shouted slogans and raised banners when Khan's convoy passed through Nilamel, at the northern end of Thiruvananthapuram district bordering Kollam.

The governor claimed that the protestors were on the road because of instructions from Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. According to sources, Khan spoke to vice-president Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union home minister Amit Shah about the incident.

"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," the governor's office posted on X soon after the incident.

The governor claimed that the protestors came too close to his vehicle. “The police said there were only 17 protestors, and look at the number of policemen. They couldn’t control the protestors. I’m fine with protestors waving black flags from a distance,” Khan said.  

Videos of the incident show that when Khan saw the protestors, he stepped out of his car and waited near a tea shop until the protestors were removed and an FIR was lodged against them under non-bailable provisions of the law.

Meanwhile, Union minister of state for external affairs V. Muraleedharan said this indicated that the state home department had failed to discharge their Constitutional duties.

Kerala general education minister V. Sivankutty, however, termed the incident as the Khan’s “fourth show”.

"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 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.

Sivankutty said no governor of any state in the country has behaved in this manner, and Khan was deliberately acting like this without considering the position he holds.

Two days ago, Khan cut short his 61-page policy address ahead of the Budget session of the state Assembly, wrapping up his speech in 1.50 seconds. After reading out the first paragraph, the governor jumped to the last paragraph of the policy address, before winding up the speech. This was one of the shortest policy addresses of a governor in the Kerala Assembly.

In November 2023, the state government filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking appropriate orders against Khan as he had been unreasonably delaying the consideration of at least eight bills that the Assembly had passed.

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