Kochi: The proposed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is having its echo across the country. In a way, they are also causing embarrassment at various platforms, which are apolitical in nature.
Getting a taste of this was the 80th edition of Indian History Congress, hosted by Kannur University in its campus on Saturday.
It witnessed uproarious scenes with a section of delegates disrupted the inaugural speech of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan over his remarks related to CAA.
The most dramatic moment came when historian Irfan Habib, seated on the dais questioned the Governor’s right to quote Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad when he should be eulogizing Nathuram Godse. The Governor later tweeted that Irfan “tried to physically stop me and pushed the ADC and security officer, who prevented his unseemly gesture.”
The Governor also tweeted that he had responded to points raised by previous speakers “as a person duty-bound to defend and protect the Constitution. But trying to disrupt speech and instigate the audience is undemocratic.”
The ruckus erupted when the Governor digressed from the prepared speech and went on to say that as one who became a Parliamentarian at the age of 26, he cannot stay away from reacting on issues that have political colour.
“I have sworn in as Governor with a pledge to defend and protect the Constitution. I have proposed dialogue with those who opposed CAA. But they shied away from that,” the Governor said and went on to quote Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad to buttress some points and tried to clarify doubts expressed by the earlier speakers and raised certain points related to CAA. That was the precise moment when Irfan rose from his seat to disrupt him. Kannur University Vice-Chancellor G Ravindran and others tried to prevent him but in vain. Later, the Governor hurriedly completed his speech and left the dais.
It is believed that the protests were triggered by delegates from Jamia Milia Islamia University but as the numbers rose and they waved black flags and raised slogans telling the Governor that this was India and not Pakistan. The police intervened to take them into custody and released them later.
Kannur MP K Sudhakaran had earlier boycotted the event in protest against the participation of the Governor. In his address at the event prior to Governor’s speech, Rajya Sabha MP K K Ragesh of the CPM lashed out at the BJP for trying to rewrite the history of the nation in the name of communalism. The Governor later summoned Kannur University VC and asked him to present the complete video of the event.