CPM’s enmity towards Governor Arif Mohammed Khan increases day by day. The other day, their student wing SFI declared that the Governor would not be permitted to step into any university campus in Kerala. And, this journal has reported the details of the anarchy unleashed by SFI goons in the Calicut varsity campus when the Governor went there to inaugurate a seminar on the “The Contributions of Sree Narayana Gurudev, Chattambi Swamiji & Shubhananda Gurudev towards the Renaissance of Kerala.”
On December 21, SFI members obstructed the entrance of Governor-nominated Calicut University Senate members as they attempted to attend the Senate meeting. This move was part of a broader campaign against individuals associated with the ‘Sangh Parivar,’ a term often used to refer to organisations affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Nine Members Blocked, Only Select Nominees Allowed: SFI activists, in control of the university gate, blocked nine Senate members, including Padmasree laureate Balan Pootheri, a visually impaired author with an impressive literary record. The Governor-nominated members were targeted for their association with the ‘Sangh Parivar.’ Out of the 18 Senate nominees, only nine were permitted entry, selectively allowing individuals affiliated with CPM, Congress, and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
Disqualification Based on Political Affiliation: The targeted Senate members reported that they had informed the Vice Chancellor upon arrival at the campus gate but received no assistance in overcoming the obstruction by SFI activists. The disqualification criteria appeared to be solely based on political affiliation, signalling a worrying trend of partisan control over academic spaces.
SFI’s Previous Confrontation at Calicut University: This incident follows a prior episode of unrest at Calicut University when SFI members created chaos during the Governor’s visit to inaugurate a seminar on “The Contributions of Sree Narayana Gurudev, Chattambi Swamiji & Shubhananda Gurudev towards the Renaissance of Kerala.” The disruptive behaviour of SFI activists raised concerns about academic freedom and the right of individuals to engage in intellectual discourse.
The SFI’s escalating opposition to Governor Dr. Arif Mohammed Khan’s presence on university campuses reflects the widening chasm between the CPM and the Governor. The ban on entry and disruptive tactics raise questions about the space for dissent and differing political ideologies within the educational landscape.
In response to the incident, calls for an investigation into the actions of SFI members have emerged. Concerned voices emphasise the need for accountability to ensure that academic institutions remain spaces for diverse perspectives and free expression, rather than becoming battlegrounds for political rivalries.
Broader Implications for Academic Freedom: The blockade of Governor-nominated Senate members highlights broader concerns regarding academic freedom, ideological diversity, and the potential intrusion of political agendas into educational institutions. The incident has sparked debates about the role of student organizations in maintaining an inclusive and democratic academic environment.
Meanwhile, VC conducted the Senate meeting for 30 minutes, and five items of the agenda were taken up and passed. Congress and IUML members complained that they were passed sans considering the protest from the student members. Once the meeting was over, police came out with the drama of arresting the SFI men. In another words, they facilitated the ‘non entry’ for the ‘Sangh Parivar’ nominees to the Senate meeting. Still CPM, DYFI and SFI claim that they are democrats !
Governor Dr. Arif Mohammed Khan has already sought legal action against the most unacceptable SFI action. Observers say, Governor had only acted in conformity with the constitutional right in nominating the qualified persons to the Varsity body.
On December 20 and 21, capital city of Thiruvananthapuram witnessed street wars between police and the Congress youths, thanks to the violent protest marches of Youth Congress and Kerala Students Union (KSU), the Kerala chapter of NSUI respectively. They were protesting against the attacks by DYFI and CPM goons and even the gunman of the CM when they (Youth Congress men) waved black flags to the luxury bus carrying the entire Cabinet in connection with the much-publicised Nav Kerala Sadas. In the first incident, DYFI men attacked Youth Congress men with plant pots, iron rod and helmets causing head injuries.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan still justifies those attacks. He says, it was the ‘rescue operations’ of the DYFI men, ‘otherwise bus might have hit them (Youth Congress men)’. And, he went to the extent of calling on the party men to repeat it whenever it is necessary. In several places, DYFI men attacked Youth Congress protesters. The other day, Youth Congress men, while waving black flags, were beaten brutally by the CM’s gun man; an unprecedented incident ! Even a physically challenged Youth Congress leader was beaten brutally and dragged away. Those scenes are viral in social media. Still CM keeps on saying that he did not see such incidents.
During the Youth Congress and KSU agitations several party men and policemen were injured. Youth Congress state president and a Youth Congress MLA sustained head injuries. A state level woman Youth Congress leader’s dress was torn in the violent melee. Youth Congress men released, by force, the arrested men while they were made to sit in the police vehicle. Consequently, policemen tried to enter the District Congress Committee office to catch hold of the ‘liberated’ ones again. But, LoP V.D. Satheeshan stood before the gate and told that they would not permit them to go in.
Now, police have registered a case against the Congressmen, with LoP as the first accused, charging public property destruction. It is a fact that police vehicles are badly damaged. Satheesan has accused CM Pinarayi of instigating violence during the Cabinet yatra; from the very beginning, Pinarayi Vijayan has been encouraging violence against Congress workers. He blamed the CM for inciting violence in the name ‘rescue operation’. He also blamed the CM for justifying the violence. He made it a point to laugh at CPM for fleeing when Yuva Morcha countered their attacks in Kollam on December 19. He added that Congress would no longer remain silent against DYFI’s attacks and would respond in the same coin. He added that CM tries to threaten him.
Now, since CM has let loose the DYFI and SFI goons, he is in a catch 22 situation. Because media reports suggest that the central as well as state intelligence reports say, Governor’s route was leaked to the SFI men from within the police. Since the Union Government has taken up the matter seriously, if central forces come to the state for the security of the Governor, it will push the state government to an awkward situation.