A hijab-clad mass communication student of Pondicherry University has become a hero on social media after she refused to accept her gold medal at a recently-held convocation ceremony where President Ram Nath Kovind was the chief guest. Rabeeha Abdurehim said that she was asked to leave the room before President Kovind arrived and was allowed entry only after he had left.
She later said that her decision to reject the gold medal was to express solidarity with those protesting against the amended Citizenship Act. She wrote on Facebook, “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 reject 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.”
Pondicherry University woman student refuses to remove hijab, denied permission to attend convocation till @rashtrapatibhvn left.
— احمد علی Jimmy Ansari (@AnsariLadakh) December 23, 2019
She added, “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.”
The student clarified that she was never asked to remove her hijab. She 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.”
The function was also attended by Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy.