Centre provides Z+ security to Kerala Guv; SFI to continue protests

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 27 (IANS) Hours after Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan staged a sit-in protest for two hours on Saturday against the ‘lapse’ on the part of Kerala Police, the Centre intervened in the matter by placing him under Z+ security cover of the CRPF.

This was disclosed by the office of Khan through his social media account.

On Saturday morning, Khan was enroute a function about 70 km from here. When his motorcade reached Nilamel, about two-dozen SFI members were seen on the roadsides, waving black flags and raising slogans.

Seeing this, Khan stopped his car and walked towards the protesters, expressing his anger against the police.

He then sat on a chair that was brought from a roadside tea stall and asked his Secretary Mohan to immediately call the Commissioner of Police .

“If not, call the Prime Minister. You (pointing his fingers at the police officers present there) are responsible for this, I will not go from here. You are giving them (the protesters) protection. You are breaking the law. If not you (the police), who will uphold the law,” asked a fuming Khan.

Khan was peeved as the police did not arrest the protesting SFI activists before his motorcade passed through.

Khan said that if such an act took place while the Chief Minister was passing by, the police would have immediately arrested the protesters.

Khan also made his position clear that unless the protesters were taken into custody, he will not move.

After almost 90 minutes, the police informed him that they have registered a case against the protesters under non-bailable charges and they have been taken into custody.

The Governor then got up and left for the programme where he was the chief guest.

With the media covering the sit-in protest live, Khan got calls from Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar and a few others and soon after a post appeared on his official social media account that the Centre has decided to provide him Z+ security cover.

For a while now, Khan has been up in arms against the protesters, especially the SFI members, as was seen recently at Kozhikode and in the state capital before that.

However, Khan has another official programme lined-up for the evening and the angry SFI agitators have announced their protest would continue.

Earlier, just before Khan arrived for the event, the police took SFI workers into custody from near the meeting venue.

Meanwhile, veteran CPI-M leader and convenor of the ruling Left, E.P. Jayarajan, said it’s strange to see a Governor behaving like this.

“Never before have we seen such an act. Is waving black flags against a minister or a Governor happening for the first time? I am of the view that he should have sat there for a longer period of time. The Centre is responsible for this irresponsible behaviour and we are waiting to hear the response from the Centre. He (Khan) should be recalled,” said Jayarajan.

State Education Minister V. Sivankutty too flayed Khan, saying that this is nothing but a show-off by the Governor, which has never happened before.

Now all eyes are on the hurriedly-called press meet by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while Khan has agreed to speak to the media at another private function.



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