Kochi: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on December 28, met with some problems at the inaugural function of the 80th edition of the Indian History Congress at Kannur University. The governor faced protests from delegates and historian Irfan Habib over the former’s remarks on the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) at the meet. Following which, Mr Mohammed Khan summoned State Chief Secretary Tom Jose, seeking his explanation over the incident.
Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that even as Mr Jose met the governor, police initiated a probe into the incident though the governor has not filed a complaint so far. They said that protocol violation had also happened at the meeting, with two people including historian Irfan Habib, being included in the list of speakers at the last moment. Irfan Habib had allegedly heckled the governor during the meet.
“Irfan Habib’s name was not there in the programme list, and he reportedly made his entry when Kannur MP K Sudhakaran backed out from the event. It amounts to protocol violation,” sources said. They also scoffed at a reported statement of Irfan Habib saying that the History Congress organisers did not invite the governor to the function. “How can he make such irresponsible statements? Kannur University authorities who hosted the event invited him well in advance. How are they separate from organisers,” a Raj Bhavan official asked.
Meanwhile, in an interview to a local television channel, Arif Mohammed Khan said that the duration of the function extended up to one and a half hours, which amounted to another protocol violation. “Normally governor’s functions are restricted to one hour. In this one and a half hours, I patiently listened to all that they have to say, including severe criticism against the Centre’s policy on Kashmir and CAA. I began by saying that such inaugural sessions do not become forums for such contentious political debate and then went on to make my limited response. However, they were not ready to listen to that,” Arif Mohammed Khan said.
He added that if he does not agree with a law passed by the Parliament, he would have to resign. The governor has also sought an explanation from the Kannur University Vice-Chancellor over the incident.