Historians, academics decry Kerala Guvs criminal remark against Kannur VC Gopinath Ravindran

Historians, academics decry Kerala Guv's 'criminal' remark against Kannur VC Gopinath Ravindran

Over 50 historians and prominent academicians expressed “shock” and condemned Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s “criminal” remark against Kannur University’s Vice-Chancellor (VC) Gopinath Ravindran.

In a statement, they deplored the remark and said, “We are shocked to learn from the media that the Governor of Kerala, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan, has described the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University, the eminent historian, Professor Gopinath Ravindran as a “criminal”. Professor Gopinath Ravindran is one of India’s leading historians, with a particular specialisation in the agrarian history of Kerala and historical demography.”

He was Head of the Department of History and Culture at the Jamia Millia Islamia Central University, New Delhi, and has been Member Secretary of the Indian Council of Historical Research. He has also been Director, Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the Jamia Millia Islamia. As Vice Chancellor, they wrote.

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“Professor Gopinath Ravindran has led the Kannur University with distinction,” they said.

They stated that the “false, defamatory and politically motivated campaign” by the governor against the VC is “unacceptable”.

“The Governor has, on earlier occasions questioned the re-appointment of Professor Ravindran as Vice-Chancellor in press statements. The High Court, however, dismissed a writ petition that sought to remove Professor Ravindran from the post. The false, defamatory and politically motivated campaign against the Vice Chancellor by the Governor and the Chancellor of the University is unacceptable. The Governor must stop this harassment of a distinguished historian and Vice Chancellor immediately,” they said.

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Prof. Prabhu Prasad Mohapatra, University of Delhi, Prof. Romila Thapar, eminent historian, retired professor from Delhi University Kesavan Veluthat, Prof. Vasanthi Devi, former VC, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, and Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, Aligarh Muslim University, were among the 50-plus signatories of the statement.

On Sunday, Governor Khan had launched a scathing attack on Raveendran. The Governor accused the VC of being part of the alleged conspiracy to attack the former when he was invited to the varsity amidst the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) agitations in the country.

“He was party to the conspiracy to hurt me physically. He is a criminal. He is sitting as VC because of political reasons. I was invited there by the VC. What was his duty when I was attacked? Was he not supposed to report it to police? He did not do so,” Khan told reporters in Delhi.

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 CAA.

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