Updated: December 30, 2019 4:06:34 pm
Stating that History Congress’ acting president Irfan Habib was pushed by security officers of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan when the historian went to speak to him during the inauguration of the Indian History Congress (IHC) in Kannur, the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA) condemned the incident and alleged used of force on IHC members.
“Professor Irfan Habib, who was on the dais in the capacity of being the outgoing President of the IHC, got up from his seat…to request the governor to refrain from turning IHC into his political arena. As soon as Professor Habib went there, the ADC and the security officer of the Governor pushed him and tried to stop him. The Governor too started accusing Habib of trying to stop him from speaking,” the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology said in a statement.
The incident took place at Kannur University on Saturday, when the Kerala Governor, while making his opening address, reiterated his stand in favour of the new Citizenship law. However, some delegates protested after Khan spoke on the agitation against the amended Citizenship Act, prompting the Governor to abruptly end his inaugural address and get off the dais. As protesters stood up, Khan said, “You have no right to create a disturbance. You have come with an attitude. You cannot shout me down.”
The governor later tweeted, “Irfan Habib tried on stage to disrupt inaugural address questioning Governor’s right to quote Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, shouting that he should quote Godse. He pushed the Governor’s ADC and Security Officer, who prevented his unseemly gesture.’’
The statement, which was jointly issued by Professor Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, Professor Jabir Raza, Professor Manvendra Kumar Pundhir, Professor Farhat Hasan, also condemned the stifling of the right to protest and the way the Constitution “is being effectively dismantled through acts like CAA”.
“Instead of apologising to one of the seniormost historian (who is 88 years old) of the country, the Governor is spreading falsehood and claiming instead that the professor pushed the ADC and Security Officer! We condemn these attempts at spreading falsehood unequivocally,” the statement further said.
The ASHA members also stated that the police tried to enter into a scuffle with the protesters who were demonstrating peacefully. “On hearing such comments being spoken by the Governor, two women doing research from JNU stood up silently holding placards, reading ‘No to CAA’. The protestors were surrounded by the police who tried to enter into a physical scuffle and tried to take the two girls into custody,” it said.
“Soon a host of researchers from JNU, AMU, DU and Jamia were detained. Fortunately, they were all released within an hour. Attempt was also made to detain a senior professor from Aligarh,” the statement said.
Over the last week, the Governor has faced flak from the ruling CPI(M) and Opposition Congress over his stand on the new citizenship law. The Congress had cancelled an invitation for a party event as part of its boycott of the governor.
“Instead of delivering an address the Honourable Governor started not only defending the CAA but also accusing all those who did not agree with CAA as “Pakistani” agents who never had the courage to criticise the wrong policies of the Gandhi family, specially Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Along with all those who opposed CAA as ani-nationals, he went along to suggest that this could not be understood by the people of Kerala who never experienced the partition of India and creation of Pakistan,” the ASHA members stated.
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