KANNUR: Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had to abruptly stop his inaugural speech at the 80th Indian History Congress on the Kannur University campus on Saturday and leave the scene after delegates protested against his stance on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. It all began when Rajya Sabha MP K K Ragesh and historian Irfan Habeeb said the Constitution was facing threat from those who did not play any role in the struggle for independence.
Expressing his resentment over the time and venue the protestors chose to make the comments, the governor said: “Contentious issues like these shouldn’t have been raised at this inaugural ceremony. You could have made your point in other sessions of the congress.”Khan also said the comments made by the speakers before him had nothing to do with history and that they were political in nature.
“A democracy requires healthy discussion and not violence. Those who raise the banners of opposition should also be ready to hold discussion with the government. They’re being misled. When you shut the doors on debate or discussion, you promote violence,” he said. When he continued speaking about partition and the marks it left on the country, a few delegates came forward with placards, protesting against his stand. Quoting Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan retorted: “Partition had taken most of the dirt along with it. But it seems some foul water was left in a few pits here and there. And one can feel the stench now.”
In his attempt to silence them, the governor quoted Gandhi, but Habeeb, who was present on the stage, interrupted by saying, “You should better quote Godse.” Once the noise reached a crescendo, it became impossible for the governor to continue his speech and he left. The police took the protesters into custody but released them after the governor left the venue. IHC Secretary Mahalakshmi Ramakrishnan said the congress condemned the policemen’s manhandling of the protesting delegates, who were doing it democratically.
"Hon’ble Governor said that he had responded to points raised by previous speakers, as a person duty-bound to defend & protect the Constitution. But trying to disrupt speech from stage & audience due to intolerance towards different opinion is undemocratic," tweet from Kerala Governor said.