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Kerala Guv Re-ignites 2019 Heckling row With Video; Alleges 'CMO Official Obstructed Cops'

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan escalated his faceoff with the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government by recalling an incident from 2019 where he was heckled. 

Image: PTI


Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan escalated his faceoff with the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government by recalling an incident from 2019 where he was heckled. Addressing a press conference at the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, he showed videos from the inauguration of the 80th Indian History Congress held at the Kannur University. On this occasion, Khan accused a senior functionary who is now working in the Chief Minister's Office of preventing the police from discharging their duties. 

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan remarked, "The programme was for one hour. Irfan Habib was allocated 2-3 minutes to speak. He spoke for more than 35 minutes. He did not speak on history. He spoke on CAA, the Central government. And every time, he made a critical remark, he looked at me. It means he wanted me to respond to those remarks. I was made to sit there for more than 95 minutes. Naturally, I felt that they want me to respond to the points which have been raised." 

Taking umbrage at being heckled, he contended that the protesters had come prepared with placards. Zeroing in on the role of the unnamed CMO official, Khan observed, "He is sitting on the stage while the police is trying to control these lawbreakers. He goes down and stops people from acting against them. Possibly that is why he has been rewarded". A day earlier, the Governor alleged that Vijayan had given instructions to the police not to lodge a complaint about the incident. 

Faceoff with Kerala government

In August, the tussle between the Raj Bhavan and Vijayan came to the fore after 11 ordinances promulgated by the Kerala government expired as Governor Arif Mohammed Khan delayed granting his approval to the same. While the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government sought the renewal of earlier ordinances including the amendment to the Kerala Lokayukta Act, Khan departed for Delhi on August 5 without signing them. The Kerala Governor had earlier stressed that he would approve the ordinances only after examining their clauses.

As a result, the government tabled the Lokayukta (Amendment) and University Laws Amendment bills which were passed on August 30 and September 1 respectively. When Khan voiced his criticism of these bills in public, state Law Minister P Rajeeve highlighted that the Governor doesn't have the power to reject bills. While conceding that the Governor has the power to give assent to bills, withhold them or send them to the President, he said that the people evaluate whether the constitutional functionary was acting in accordance with his position. 

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