Rabeeha Abdurehim rejected her gold medal to show support for countrywide protesters against the new controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that grants citizenship to illegal immigrants from six religious minorities – Hindus, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Buddhists, and Sikhs, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan but excludes Muslims.
Abdurehim claims she was only allowed into the convocation hall after the President left the ceremony and students were presented with certificates and medals.
“As I was on the radar of authorities (for participation in the 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 my gold medal,” she told media.
Abdurehim has received huge support from social media activists for her decision.
Rabeeha Abdurehim from Calicut Rejected her gold medal for masters in solidarity with students & people who are fighting against NRC & CCA @TheQuint @ThePrintIndia @Shehla_Rashid @khanumarfa @cpimspeak @_sabanaqvi @RanaAyyub @rohini_sgh @AISA_tweets https://t.co/Xc2f2bGzxW pic.twitter.com/lEjYBFegJK— Harshita Ganguly (@HarshitaGangul1) December 23, 2019
In her Facebook post, she said that she never imagined that the momentous occasion of receiving a gold medal would turn out to be a strong and peaceful message to the people across India.
“As a woman, as a student, as an Indian, today at my graduation I rejected the gold medal awarded to me in solidarity with all the students and the public who are fighting against the 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.
She further clarified that she was never asked to remove her headscarf by the authorities as the news is being peddled.
Earlier, another top student at the same University, Karthika B. Kurup had also decided to boycott the convocation as a mark of protest against the controversial law.
The Students Council of Puducherry University had last week called on students to boycott the convocation as a mark of protest against the controversial Citizenship Law and National Register of Citizens and in solidarity with their counterparts in other parts of the country.