Governor-SFI row: Khan takes on students’ union, says he will stay in university campus; SFI continues protest

Arif Mohammed Khan was initially scheduled to stay at the government guest house in Kozhikode but announced a change of plans.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 16, 2023 | 6:24 PMUpdatedDec 16, 2023 | 6:24 PM

calicut university SFI protest: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. (South First)

Days after activists of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) allegedly attacked him, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, on Saturday, 16 December, decided to stay in the Calicut University campus in an apparent bid to take on the pro-Left students’ union.

The SFI, the student organisation of the ruling CPI(M), staged a massive protest in front of Calicut University where Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is scheduled to visit in the evening and stay for various events in the coming days.

The Governor is scheduled to reach the campus at 6.30 pm on Saturday.

Also Read: Governor, CM Vijayan and Kerala’s most hated mode of protest

Announces change in schedule

To attend various programmes later in the day, Khan was initially scheduled to stay at the government guest house in Kozhikode but announced a change of plans.

“I was planning to stay at the government guest house. Then, I was told that they (SFI) had said that they won’t allow me to enter the university. Then, I said change the programme and I will stay at the university campus itself,” Khan told reporters in New Delhi.

The Governor said that he would get out of the car in case protestors reach the vehicle.

“If someone comes near my car, I will immediately stop and get down. Why should they hit my car? They should hit me. If they have guts, they should hit me. They want to frighten me. I am not one who can be frightened. They are bullying,” Khan said.

He said that the student organisation has changed their stance now, and they will only wave black flags from a distance.

“The political party has officially issued a statement saying that the black flags will continue, but there will be no block. It means earlier they were blocking my way? That is a crime,” the Governor noted.

He asked whether anyone would be allowed to go near the car of the Chief Minister.

Also Read: Kerala CM accuses state Governor of not discharging his duties

SFI protests

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 the state using his authority as the Chancellor of the universities in the state.

The SFI protest at Calicut University was led by its state secretary, PM Arsho and president Anusree. Many students, including the office-bearers had been arrested by the police earlier. Police have increased the security in and around the university campus ahead of the Governor’s visit.

Addressing the students as part of the protest blocking the way to the campus, Anusree said that the Governor ignored the University list and pushed the Sangh Parivar nominees in the senate.

“The Chancellor has been behaving like a fascist. If he behaves so, he needs to stay outside the campuses. We will stage the protest to safeguard the secular campuses from the communal forces,” Anusree said.

Police have arranged all measures to ensure smooth passage of the Governor.

Recently, while on his way to the International Airport at Thiruvananthapuram, the SFI activists allegedly attacked Khan’s car following which he alighted from the vehicle.

The student union has been protesting against the actions of Khan as the Chancellor of the universities and nominating BKP-ABVP activists as senate members in various universities.

The SFI, the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M), has been alleging that Khan’s actions were part of the saffronisation agenda of the BJP.

(With PTI inputs)