Academicians, historians condemn Kerala governor remarks against Kannur University VC

Academicians, from various universities in the country, expressed shock over the Governor describing Raveendran as a "criminal".

Kerala governor (Source: Official Twitter Account)Kerala governor (Source: Official Twitter Account)

Press Trust of India | August 22, 2022 | 11:05 PM IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Over 50 well-known academicians and historians on Monday condemned Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan's "criminal" remark against the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University and said that such "harassment" of a distinguished academic should stop. A statement issued on behalf of the academicians deplored the "baseless remarks" by Khan against Kannur University VC Gopinath Raveendran and expressed their support for the latter.

The academicians, from various universities in the country, expressed shock over the Governor describing Raveendran as a "criminal", the statement said. The signatories included Professor Prabhu Prasad Mohapatra, Department of History from the Delhi University, eminent historian Prof Romila Thapar and Professor Kesavan Veluthat who retired from the Department of History, Delhi University. In a statement, they said, the Kannur University VC was "one of India's leading historians", was earlier the head of the Department of History and Culture at the Jamia Millia Islamia Central University, New Delhi, a Member Secretary of the Indian Council of Historical Research and also a Director of the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Jamia Millia Islamia. They also said that while the Governor had earlier questioned Raveendran's re-appointment as VC, the Kerala High Court dismissed a plea seeking to remove the VC from his post.

"The false, defamatory and politically motivated campaign against the Vice Chancellor by the Governor as the Chancellor of the universities is unacceptable. The Governor must stop this harassment of a distinguished historian and Vice Chancellor immediately," they said in the statement. Meanwhile, the All Kerala Private College Teachers Association (AKPCTA) also threw its weight behind Raveendran by demanding that the Governor as Chancellor should apologise for what he said. They alleged that while a Governor becomes Chancellor based on universities' laws enacted by state legislatures and not their academic qualifications, only well-qualified academics are appointed as VC of universities. The association also alleged that the Governor's remarks were not an isolated incident and only the most recent example of mudslinging against universities that has been planned by the Sangh Parivar through the Raj Bhavan.

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Earlier in the day, police arrested some Yuva Morcha activists who went to Kannur University campus to show black flags to the VC. They were later released. Khan on Sunday launched a scathing attack on Raveendran by calling him a "criminal". The Governor accused the VC of being part of the alleged conspiracy to attack the former when he was invited to the university amidst the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) agitations in the country. Khan was referring to the alleged heckling he faced when he went to inaugurate the Indian History Congress hosted by Kannur University in December 2019. As the Governor was about to address, most of the delegates assembled for the event rose, voicing their protest against his stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act, which was a burning issue then. His comments were condemned by the CPI(M) state secretariat as well as the Left party-led LDF, while the Congress and BJP demanded a probe into the allegations by the Governor of a conspiracy to attack him when he had visited Kannur University.

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