Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday accused Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of conspiring to physically harm him. Governor Khan’s accusations stem from an incident where his vehicle was allegedly struck by members of the Students Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the ruling CPI(M).
This incident, which took place while the governor was en route to the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to leave for New Delhi, has ignited a political firestorm in the state.
Governor Khan, addressing the media, said there is a concerted effort at play to cause him physical harm, implying the involvement of Chief Minister Vijayan. He stated that the incident was not an accident, but rather a deliberate act targeting him individually.
“Is it possible that if a Chief Minister programme is going on, cars with protesters will be allowed there? Will they (police) allow anybody to come near the car of the Chief Minister? Here cars of the protesters were standing there and police pushed them into their cars and they ran away,” Mr Khan said.
“So, it is the Chief Minister, I am saying it clearly, who is conspiring and sending these people to hurt me physically. The ‘goondas’ have taken charge of the roads of Thiruvananthapuram,” Mr Khan added.
Visibly enraged by the alleged attack on his vehicle, Governor Khan condemned the incident and the alleged deteriorating state of democracy in Kerala. He stressed that political disagreement should not lead to physical violence.
Mr Khan alleged that protesting students not only waved black flags at him but also struck his vehicle on both sides.
“Then I got down from my car. Then why did they run away? They were all sitting in a car, which means the police knew. But what will the poor police do when the Chief Minister is directing them?” he asked.
PTI, quoting Raj Bhawan sources, reported that black flags were waved at Governor Khan at three places and his car was hit by protesters at two of them.
According to the police, Governor Khan’s vehicle was blocked by SFI activists at one particular location. Seven members of the student organisation have been arrested in connection with that, police said.