Seven SFI men, arrested in connection with the black flag protests and alleged attack on Kerala Governor’s car while he was travelling in Thiruvananthapuram on November 11 evening, were denied bail on December 14. The accused face charges under IPC Section 124, a rare occurrence in Kerala, which can result in a seven-year imprisonment. IPC Section 124 is invoked for preventing or obstructing the President and the Governor, and this marks the first time it has been imposed in the state.
Initially, the arrested individuals were charged with offenses related to gathering, rioting, and public destruction. Subsequently, the Raj Bhavan reportedly urged the State Police Chief (SPC) and Chief Secretary to include more severe charges, including IPC Section 124. The imposition of this section is noteworthy for its implications on the accused.
The defense argued before the court that IPC Section 124 might not be applicable, emphasising that the remand report did not specify whether the Governor was on official duty during the alleged incident. The legal discourse surrounding this case is likely to intensify as it delves into the specifics of the charges leveled against the SFI members.
Raj Bhavan, in its communication, highlighted that the alleged attack resulted in a loss of Rs 76,357, incurred due to damage to the car’s windows and bonnet. The severity of the charges and the financial implications add complexity to the legal proceedings.
The development is a heavy blow to CPM and SFI since CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has been in constant confrontation with Raj Bhavan since long. Governor has been questioning many actions of the government, especially nepotism. Governor made it a point not to compromise with the backdoor appointments in higher education sector.
Recently Kannur Varsity Vice Chancellor Gopinath Raveendran was shown the door by the Supreme Court. In other words, the entire principled stands Governor has been following have invited the wrath of the LDF government, especially CPM and CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that the SFI ‘performance’ on November 11 was motivated by political interests.
It is to be remembered that there were allegations that protesters were brought in police vehicles. If it is right, it is really shocking.
ABVP state secretary PV Eashwar Prasad ridiculed the SFI’s allegations that Governor has been trying to saffronise the campuses by nominating ABVP workers to university bodies hence their protests against the Governor. Prasad says, SFI opposes Governor because he would not blindly accept the list they (SFI) gave for nomination. SFI cannot take it for granted that their men are the only competent candidates for such positions. He questioned the SFI threat that they would not permit the Governor to enter the campus. Prasad said, it is an anti-Constitutional stand; Governor is the Chancellor of the varsities in the state.