In the videos from the event held at Kannur University on Saturday, a few in the audience are seen objecting to his speech.

Kerala Governor faces protests accuses professor Irfan Habib of disrupting speech
news CAA Sunday, December 29, 2019 - 09:14

Soon after being heckled by the students of Kannur University over his pro-Citizenship Amendment Act remarks, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan took to Twitter to accuse historian and faculty at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Irfan Habib of trying to disrupt his inaugural address at the Indian History Congress. “This intolerance towards a different opinion was undemocratic,” the Kerala Governor said in a series of tweets. He also posted photographs where the historian is seen being escorted away from the Governor.

In the videos from the event held at Kannur University on Saturday, a few in the audience are seen objecting to his speech. Then the Governor is heard referring to Indian scholar and activist Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in his speech and tells the protesters in the crowd, “Maulana Azad said during convocation that the Partition took the dirt away but some potholes were left behind, where water has collected and now it is stinking,” he said, adding, “You are causing a foul smell. Maulana Azad had said this for you.”

It was at this point that Irfan stood up and raised his objection. When he saw Irfan standing near him and raising objection, the Governor said, “Was Maulana Azad your property? He is ours.”

In his tweets, Arif Mohammed Khan said that efforts were made to interrupt his speech on stage and that the historian “pushed” his ADC and Security Officer.

The Governor then said, "These people cannot shout me down. If I heard them quietly, they should hear me too."

The Governor said that Irfan Habib raised some points on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), but when he addressed these points, the historian rose from his seat on the stage to “physically stop him” and this was clear from the video, he said.

The Governor also claimed that Habib tried to question his right to quote Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and shouted saying he should “quote Godse”, he said in another tweet.

The Governor said he had only responded to points raised by previous speakers as a person duty-bound to defend and protect the Constitution. “But trying to disrupt speech from stage and audience due to intolerance towards different opinion is undemocratic #IndianHistoryCongress,” the Governor's office said.

Incidentally, this was not the first time the people in Kerala have expressed their anger at the Governor for his pro-CAA stance. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had requested the Governor to not attend the commemoration meeting for former Chief Minister K Karunakaran, owing to the opposition from the latter's son and MP K Muraleedharan.

At an event, Khan had said that the Congress had “committed itself in 1947 to accept” the people who have already fled Pakistan and who are likely to flee as their lives and honour were in danger. The Opposition alleged that he has stooped to the level of a BJP spokesperson and held a distorted version of history.

At the recent event, where the Governor was inaugurating the 80th Indian History Congress at Kannur University, he was met with black flags and heckles by the Youth Congress and workers of the Kerala Students’ Union. There were protests outside the venue as well.

Twitter saw a mixed response over the protest by Irfan Habib with some appreciating the historian while others reacted to the protest with anger.

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