Updated January 9th, 2024 at 16:11 IST

Kerala Governor shown black flags by SFI amid LDF's hartal in Idukki

Some of the protesters even allegedly raised objectionable slogans against Khan during the march

Reported by: Moumita Mukherjee
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan | Image:PTI
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Kerala: A Black flag protest was organised by Left-wing student organisation Students' Federation of India (SFI) on Tuesday against Governor Arif Mohammed Khan in Idukki district as the Governor's cavalcade crossed the region. The police immediately stopped the agitators. The protest was held to show protest over Governor not giving a go ahead for the Kerala Govt Land Assignment Amendment Bill 2023 passed by the state assembly. Some of the protesters even allegedly raised objectionable slogans against Khan during the march.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan visited Thodupuzha to inaugurate an event organised by Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES). The event was part of launching a welfare scheme for the families of the traders.

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As the Governor entered the hill district to participate in the event, a traders' body, a group of Left activists attempted to obstruct his vehicle, displaying black flags as a mark of protest. The protests, spearheaded by activists from the Left Front's youth outfits including Students Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and Youth Front, gained momentum as they marched towards the venue where the Governor was scheduled to attend the programme.

Earlier, local leaders and activists of the CPI(M)'s Idukki unit took out a march against Khan's arrival to the district. Some of the protesters even allegedly raised objectionable slogans against Khan during the march. The dawn-to-dusk hartal was announced by the ruling front against Khan's refusal to give his assent to the Kerala Government Land Assignment (Amendment) Bill 2023.

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Many shops remained closed and the number of vehicles on the roads was comparatively less in the high-range district in the initial hours of the hartal. The LDF had earlier announced a march to Raj Bhavan on January 9 after which the Governor reportedly agreed to attend a function of the Samiti, an umbrella organisation of the traders, at Thodupuzha. Following the Governor's decision, the CPI(M)-led ruling front announced a hartal in the district on the same day. In the midst of the tussle between Khan and the LDF government, senior CPI(M) leader and former minister from Idukki, M M Mani had allegedly verbally abused the Governor for not giving assent to the Bill. The SFI has already made it clear that they would stage a protest against Khan during his visit to the district. They also put up banners in many places which say "Sanghi Governor not welcome here."

The Kerala Government passed the bill in the Legislative Assembly on September 14, 2023, taking into consideration the decades-long demand of the people of Idukki district. The farmers' groups and certain religious organisations earlier demanded unconditional use of assigned land in the hilly district. The amendment will empower the government to regulate the use of public land allotted for building dwellings and farming.

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Earlier, some right wing outfits had urged the Governor to avoid giving his assent alleging that the bill was aimed at regularising the unauthorised construction and land defacement activities taking place in the ecologically sensitive Munnar area.

(With agency inputs)

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Published January 9th, 2024 at 15:57 IST