A student who completed her masters in Mass Communication with a gold medal from Pondicherry University, Rabeeha Abdurehim, has alleged that she was prevented from attending the convocation ceremony attended by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday.
Rabeeha Abdurehim, who hails from Kozhikode in Kerala, told reporters after the ceremony that she was asked to leave the hall before the President arrived.
“As I was on the radar of authorities (for participation in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests), I was asked to leave the hall and was allowed only after the President left. Later, I received my degree and refused to accept the gold medal,” she told reporters.
Ms. Rabeeha said her decision to reject the gold medal was also to express solidarity with students who faced police brutality while staging protests against the CAA.
‘Take a strong stand’
“Educated youth should take a strong stand against the legislation and fascist regime,” she said.
Ms. Rabeeha did her masters in the School of Media and Communication of Pondicherry University. Another gold medallist from the same school, Karthika B. Kurup had announced her decision to boycott the convocation in support of the protest against the CAA.
S.I. Humayun, officer-in-charge, Pondicherry University, said the student’s decision to not receive the medal from the President was her “personal decision” and the University had nothing to comment on it.
The official also denied knowledge of what actually led her to getting ousted as she had been duly registered and had taken a seat.
‘She was asked to leave’
“All we know is that there was commotion in the hall and she was asked to leave. She was allowed back after departure of the President.”
The official also denied the charge that she was asked to leave for wearing a hijab as was being claimed on social media.
“This is borne out by the student’s Facebook post where she herself has denied it,” said the official.
In her Facebook post, Ms. Rabeeha said that while she dreamt often about the moment she would receive a gold medal and master's certificate, “never did I imagine it would end up being in a way in which I could send a strong peaceful message across India.”
“As a woman, as a student, as an Indian, today in my graduation I reject the gold medal awarded to me in solidarity with all the students and publicwho are fighting against CAA and NRC. This is my way of showing the world what education means to us youth, not medals and certificates but... standing up against injustice, fascism and bigotry,” she said.
“And even though (for ‘unknown’ reasons) I was send (sic) out of the auditorium where 100s of students sat awaiting their medals when the president came and was only allowed inside when he left, I feel at peace for the fact that I was able to take a stand as an educated youth”.
A post script to this added: “I have been seeing news which says I was asked to remove my scarf. That is false. No one asked me to remove anything. No one told me why I was kept outside.”