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Historians and academics criticized Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Tuesday. Describing Khan’s comment as “harassment,” a group of around 50 historians and academics voiced their support for Ravindran and denounced the governor’s statement as a “false, defamatory, and politically motivated campaign.”

“We are dismayed to hear that the Governor of Kerala has labeled the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University, the esteemed historian Professor Gopinath Ravindran, as a ‘criminal.’ Professor Gopinath Ravindran is a renowned historian in India, specializing in the agrarian history of Kerala and historical demography,” they stated.

“Professor Gopinath Ravindran previously served as the Head of the Department of History and Culture at the Jamia Millia Islamia Central University, New Delhi, and held positions such as Member Secretary of the Indian Council of Historical Research and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the Jamia Millia Islamia. As Vice Chancellor, Professor Gopinath Ravindran has led Kannur University with distinction,” they added.

The signatories highlighted that the High Court had dismissed a writ petition seeking to remove Professor Ravindran from his position, despite the Governor questioning his re-appointment as Vice Chancellor in the past.

“The Governor’s ongoing harassment of a respected historian and Vice Chancellor must cease immediately. The false, defamatory, and politically motivated campaign against the Vice Chancellor is unacceptable,” the statement emphasized.

Eminent historians Romila Thapar and K N Pannikar, along with academics Prabhat Patnaik, Aditya Mukherjee, Mridula Mukherjee, CP Chandrasekhar, Zoya Hasan, and Harbans Mukhia, were among the signatories.

Since his appointment as Governor in 2019, Khan has clashed with the Kerala government on multiple occasions. The latest dispute concerns his decision to halt the appointment of Priya Varghese, wife of CPI(M) leader K K Ragesh and private secretary to the Chief Minister, as an associate professor in Kannur University’s Department of Malayalam due to alleged violations of norms and favoritism.

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