Published: 23rd December 2019
Muslim student rejects gold medal on stage after getting thrown out of PU convocation for 'looking suspicious'
The student was allegedly asked to remove her hijab and only allowed to return inside after the President had left the venue. She waited, went on stage and refused to take her gold medal. Take that!
A Muslim student from Pondicherry University rejected her gold medal at the convocation in protest — after being treated as a 'suspect' by the police allegedly for wearing a hijab. Though the Chief Guest was President Ramnath Kovind, many students had already declared that they would boycott the event in protest against CAA. But Rabeeha Abdurehim, a Mass Communication graduate was asked to step out of the convocation because she 'looked suspicious' — following which the police allegedly asked her to remove her hijab as well.
Rabeeha and another student were asked to leave the convocation as the police found them 'suspicious', News7 reported. She was allegedly asked to remove her hijab and when she refused, they asked her to remain outside, "I was kicked out of my own convocation," Rabeeha told reporters. It was only when the President left the event, that Rabeeha was allowed to go back inside the auditorium to accept her degree.
When she went up on stage, the dignitary on stage held out the gold medal, but Rabeeha told the dignitaries on stage that she would not accept the medal. She only accepted her degree, posed for a photo and then walked off the stage. "I rejected my medal in solidarity with the students protesting against CAA across the country and also against the police brutality unleashed on the students. But I also rejected it because today, I was kicked out of my own convocation because the police thought I looked suspicious. They asked me to do something that I didn't do and so I rejected the medal today," she said.
This was particularly harsh on the student from Kerala, "I have dreamt often about the moment I would receive my gold medal and master's certificate fondly. Never did I imagine it would end up being 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 rejected the gold medal that is awarded to me in solidarity with all the students and public of India who are fighting against CAA and NRC in India. This is my way of showing the world what education means to us youth, not medals and certificates but learning the message of unity, peace and standing up against injustice, fascism and bigotry. And even though (for 'unknown' reasons) I was sent out of the auditorium where hundreds 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," Rabeeha wrote on her Facebook page.
Rabeeha has been winning praise for her decision on social media but she was not the only one who decided to reject her medal. Several students had already declared that they would boycott the event because the President was attending it and had stated that they would refuse to accept their degrees from his hands.
The Pondicherry University Students' Union had appealed to the students to attend the event but refuse to accept their degrees from the President as an act of solidarity with the rest of the protesting students in the country. They had urged the students saying that they could look back at this act of defiance years later and feel proud that they took such a brave step. The Union had also refused to heed to the call of the University to help them with organizing the convocation. Accepting this call from the Union, several students had posted a uniform message on social media stating that they will reject their degrees and medals.