"Kerala Government With SFI During Day, PFI At Night": Governor's Charge

The Kerala Governor has been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Vijayan and his government over various issues, including appointments to state-run universities.

'Kerala Government With SFI During Day, PFI At Night': Governor's Charge

Arif Mohammad Khan was appointed Governor of Kerala in 2019.

New Delhi:

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Wednesday doubled down on claims of a "nexus" between the ruling CPIM - via the Students' Federation of India, its student wing - and the Popular Front of India banned by the Union Home Ministry under anti-terror law UAPA.

Speaking to NDTV, Mr Khan launched a sharp attack on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's administration and referred to what he said is now a common phrase in the southern state - "during the day they (the Kerala government) are with SFI and, in the night, work for PFI". 

"The evidence I have (of his claims of a SFI-PFI "nexus") is what I hear from the people of Kerala. Now I can't give you exact names... but the (central) agencies have this information," the Governor - who is at loggerheads with the state on various issues, including appointments to state-run universities - said.

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Mr Khan referred specifically to arrests after his face-off last month with student activists in Kerala's Kollam district, when he stopped his convoy, exited his car, and shouted a challenge - 'aao (come)' - to SFI workers standing by the roadside holding black flags. 

"Government agencies know... see, out of 15 arrested almost half have been found to be active PFI volunteers, and this is not something new. In fact, allegations have been made in the Assembly, and not recently, that PFI is being used by the political establishment."

The people of Kerala "generally talk about this... it is known", Mr Khan insisted.

The Governor also accused the state of having orchestrated protests against him, including the incident in Kollam district. "I don't know if those holding black flags at demonstrations are really students... because you can see they are much past the age..."

"They are people brought in by the ruling party... and this is being organised now after the Supreme Court judgement in the Kannur University case. They are losing control over universities... see no chance of appointments per their wishes. They are upset..." he said.

The Students' Federation of India has been protesting against the Governor over the past several days, alleging he pushed "BJP-RSS nominees" into various universities in the state by using his authority as the ex-officio Chancellor of the institutions in question. 

On Tuesday the Governor slammed these protests as a "joint venture of SFI and PFI". "SFI has recruited PFI volunteers and he (Chief Minister Vijayan) is making sacrificial lambs of the youngsters," Mr Khan said, declaring he would not be frightened by "brutes".

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Following that protest the centre has upgrading Mr Khan's security to 'Z' category status.

READ | Kerala Governor Given Z+ Security After Faceoff With Student Activists

The Chief Minister, meanwhile, has criticised Mr Khan for triggering the confrontation in Kollam, noting the Governor ought not to have exited his car and broken the security blanket.

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