Kerala Governor alleges 90-yr-old Prof Irfan Habib tried to physically assault him at 2019 event

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Historian Irfan Habib confronts Governor Arif Mohammad Khan at the Indian History Congress at Kannur University | Photo: Mathrubhumi/Sunil Kumar C

Thiruvananthapuram: The war of words seemed to be continuing between the Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and Kannur University VC and Professor Irfan Habib. The governor has slammed the historian alleging that he physically assaulted him at a 2019 event.

Khan issued a statement asking the historian to watch the videos from the event, where according to Khan, professor Habib tried to physically assault him.

"I would request you, Mr Irfan Habib, to watch the video of the history congress 2019, and you will see that while I had just started dealing with the questions you had addressed to me, you got up from your seat and tried to assault me physically, will you please clarify if these attempts to overawe me physically were academic acts or you behaved like a small-time street goonda?" the statement read.

The Kerala governor further asked professor Habib for clarification on his behaviour. He also alleged the then vice-chancellor, who had invited him, of being an accomplice in the crime.

"The Vice Chancellor of Kannur University who had invited me never reported this, therefore, why it should not be presumed that VC Kannur university was your accomplice in carrying out the conspiracy, after all the disgraceful goondaism that you indulged in at Kannur University, if you still claim to be an academic, then the term academic will need some new definition" Khan further alleged.

Governor Khan also said that an attack on a governor is a punishable crime. But, in Kerala arrests can be made for Facebook posts but not when someone is from your ideological camp.

"You surely must be aware that any attempt to overawe a Governor is a punishable crime but you appeared to be confident that in Kerala where arrests are done for writing Facebook posts or for wearing a black shirt in public meetings, they will not act against your goondaism as they are your ideological camp, I would request you to watch old video clips and if the clips are not available, let me know I will send the whole bunch to you," Khan said while attacking Professor Habib.

The Governor was reacting to historian Irfan Habib's statement where he had denied all these allegations. Irfan, while speaking to a Malayalam news channel, had rejected Governor Khan's allegations.

"I reject Governor's allegation of conspiracy. He said conspiracy is not the job of academicians. On what basis does Governor say that there was a Delhi-based conspiracy? Governor has crossed his limits. One can have politics, but one has to be conscious of the post one holds," said Irfan Habib.

Governor Khan had earlier alleged that professor Ravindran is a criminal. He even alleged that he had hatched a conspiracy to physically attack him during the Indian History Congress, hosted by Kannur University, where he was invited during the Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) agitations back in December 2019.

Arif Muhammad Khan had also said earlier, "While the programme had been planned for 60 minutes, he (Prof. Ravindran) allowed (historian) Irfan Habib and the others to make speeches for one-and-a-half hours. They were severe in their criticism and addressed every question to me. When I stood up to answer those questions, a physical attack was made on me within five minutes."


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