Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan initiates sit-in march over ‘police incompetence’ to curb black flag demo at his convoy

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Kerala’s Governor Takes a Stand

Peaceful Protest Against Disruptive Student Activism and Police Alleged Negligence

On January 27, 2024, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan made an unexpected break with tradition. In an unusual move for a public official in his position, Mr. Khan staged a roadside protest in Kollam district, Nilamel. This form of silent objection was to demonstrate his deep discontentment over alleged police negligence to prevent a Student Federation of India (SFI) demonstration featuring black flags targeting his motorcade according to our sources in Reader Wall.

The Cause of Protest

The series of events unfolded when the SFI activists, in protest of the perceived bias in appointments to State-funded universities, showed black flags in response to Khan’s passing motorcade at 11 a.m. Outraged by these actions, the governor chose to step out of his car, confronting the student protesters.

Interestingly, his anger was not only aimed at the students, but also the police force who he blamed for allowing the protestors to gather along his route. He questioned their lack of control, asking them whether they would extend the same allowances to protestors in the way of the Chief Minister’s route.

Critical Views on Law Enforcement

Not satisfied with the police response, Mr. Khan began to question further. He criticized the police statement of having arrested 12 protestors, countering that the demonstration was over 50 strong and that they should be held accountable.

Opting to seat himself in a local tea shop, he refuted continuous requests from the police to resume his journey. Insistent upon a full understanding of the charges against the students, he demanded a copy of the first information report and specific legal provisions used against them.

Rising Tensions and Repercussions

This was not the first time that Mr. Khan has taken such open action. In a similar incident in Thiruvananthapuram the previous December, he confronted SFI protestors. As a consequence, the police were prompted to charge the protestors for trying to harm a governor or president, and subsequently they were placed in judicial custody.

Accusations of Negligence

Union Minister of External Affairs V. Muraleedharan was vocal about the perceived negligence on the part of the police. He alleged that the failure to protect the titular head of State was directed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Muraleedharan claimed that the police should have either rerouted the governor’s motorcade or removed the protestors before the VIP’s arrival.

In light of these events, he called for Mr. Vijayan to clarify the current state of law and order in Kerala, and suggested that if the State police could not ensure the governor’s security, then it might be necessary for central forces to step in.


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