The Kerala Assembly witnessed some unprecedented scenes during the budget session, which bagan today morning, in which opposition Congress led UDF MLAs blocked Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan inside the state assembly with ‘go back’ slogans and placards against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The marshals rushed back to curtail the members.
The incident took place when Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan ushered Khan to the assembly hall for presenting the policy address. Though the CM and the Speaker repeatedly tried to appease the agitating opposition members, they didn’t budge and continued to raise slogans against Khan and his stand in support of CAA.
After nearly 10 minutes of protest, watch and ward personnel removed the opposition members using force and cleared the governor’s way to the dias. Governor Arif Mohammad Khan could be seen standing with folded hands and saying ‘thank you’ to the protesting MLAs. He was escorted inside with the help of the marshals.
As soon as the Governor reached the dias, the national anthem was played, soon after it’s completion the adamant opposition carrying placard gathered at the well of the House and started the ‘Governor go back’ slogans. But, the adamant opposition carrying placards written ‘call back Governor’ and raising slogans of “recall Governor”, was seen engaged in a heated argument with the watch and ward staff.
When Khan began his policy address, the opposition members walked out of the assembly hall raising slogans and are continuing their dharna at the gate.
Khan, in his speech clarified that he will read the references on the Anti-CAA resolution though it is not his views. “I am going to read this paragraph because the CM wants me to read this. Also, I hold the view that this does not come under policy or programme. The chief minister himself said this is the view of the government. I disagree but to honour his wish, I am reading out this paragraph.”
Khan said, though he has his “reservations and disagreement” over the subject, he would read paragraph 18 of the policy address, to “honour” the Chief Minister’s wish.
Reading out the the anti-CAA stand of the state government, he said “our citizenship can never be on the basis of religion as this goes against the grain of secularism which is part of the basic structure of the constitution”.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had given a notice for discussion on the recall of the Governor after his criticism on the passing of the resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December.
Later, the speaker also tried to pacify the agitating opposition to make way for the Governor but failed to prevail upon them. The opposition legislators were continuously raising slogans against the Governor and the Kerala government.
Khan, of late, has been putting his foot down and has taken a tough position in the manner the Pinarayi Vijayan government has been taking positions on the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Earlier, on January 16, expressing his displeasure over allegedly not being informed of the Kerala government’s decision to move the Supreme Court against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Governor Arif Mohammad Khan had stated that he is “not just a rubber stamp”.
The Kerala Assembly had on December 31, 2019, passed a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who moved the resolution, said the CAA was against the “secular” outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.
Reacting on the development, Governor Khan had maintained that the resolution has no validity.
“Citizenship Act is purely a Central subject and moreover, in Kerala, there is no issue of any illegal migrants. Hence, this resolution passed by the Assembly has no Constitutional or legal validity,” Khan had told reporters.
The Congress led UDF had alleged that the Pinayarayi Vijayan government has a secret pact with the Centre, so they are not speaking against the Governor, putting the state government on a tight spot.