PU Student Rejects Gold Medal to Support Anti-CAA & NRC Protests

“My form of a peaceful protest to show solidarity with students facing police brutality for protesting CAA and NRC.”

3 min read

Rabeeha Abdurehim, a Mass Communication post-graduate from Pondicherry University, could have received a gold medal on 23 December, but, in a show of solidarity with the students protesting against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens, who have faced police brutality, she refused the honour.

Rabeeha is from Kerala and completed her post-graduation in 2018.

The chief guest at the convocation was President Ram Nath Kovind.

“This is my form of a peaceful protest to show solidarity with the students who have been facing police brutality for protesting against CAA and NRC.”
Rabeeha Abdurehim

Talking to The Quint, she said she was asked to leave the auditorium when President Kovind arrived, a source of much confusion for her.

‘Asked to Step Outside When President Entered’

“What was weird was... I was sitting in the auditorium following all the right protocols. Just a minute before President Ram Nath Kovind entered, the Superintendent of Police told me she wanted to have a word with me and asked me to step outside,” she recounted.

“The door was locked and I was just standing there, not knowing why they told me to get out in the first place. I even asked the police (personnel) around me if they had any idea, and they too seemed to not know anything,” she added.

“They were throwing words saying, ‘You may be a suspect,’ but even they didn’t know the exact reason. Maybe because I have been vocal about the CAA and NRC, they could’ve assumed... and targeted me. I still don’t have an answer.”
Rabeeha Abdurehim

‘Reports on Discrimination Because I Was Wearing a Hijab Are False’

When Rabeeha was called on the stage, she explained, very politely, to the chief guest that she didn’t want to receive the medal as a mark of protest. “I am sorry I can’t accept this in solidarity with the protests happening around the country. I want to stand for justice,” she had said.Pondicherry University’s Vice Chancellor was on the dais. The dignitaries agreed and awarded her a certificate of merit.

“This is in solidarity with all the students, all the people who are fighting against NRC, fascism, police brutality in a very peaceful way. This is a message from all educated youth that they will stand against injustice anywhere and will continue fighting against CAA and NRC.”
Rabeeha Abdurehim

Meanwhile, several media reports alleged that she was sent outside due to her Muslim identity, and was wearing a hijab, or more specifically, her scarf in a different manner. However, these reports were brushed aside as ‘fake news’ by Rabeeha, saying nobody had pointed out her hijab.

Support Pours in for Rabeeha

Calling it an “outrageous assault on her rights,” Congress leader P Chidambaram said that the officer who “violated her civil rights must be held liable.”

Meanwhile, the university’s Students’ Council had boycotted the event as well.

“The lives the State took from us, each life the first time it was lived and was ended so ruthlessly, and the violence it is trying to inflict on so many of us in Jamia, AMU, Mangalore, and the violence it is promising to inflict on us through CAA and NRC aren’t things that time will heal or will preserve for us to go back to later and figure them out. They are happening now, and either we act courageously, with integrity, in brotherhood, or we don’t,” read a statement released by the Council.

The university’s students have conducted several protests in the past few days against the police violence on students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, and against CAA and NRC.

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