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Pondicherry University-CAA protests

Pondicherry University gold medalists boycott convocation with President Kovind

December 23, 2019

Pondicherry University gold medalists boycotted the annual convocation as an expression of their opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The President was supposed to present graduation certificates and is also a Visitor of the University under the Pondicherry University Act, 1985.

The students’ council of Pondicherry University on Friday requested the students to boycott the event by refusing to get the degrees from President. A statement released by the council read, “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.”

Parichay Yadav, the president of the students’ council, said their decision has been welcomed by all students. He added, “We have around 190 gold medalists in the university and many of them have reached out to us expressing their solidarity with us. They have promised that they will not be registering for the event.”

Karthika B Kurup, who graduated from Pondicherry University in 2018 and a gold medallist in M Sc Electronic Media boycotted the event saying, ” I demand the withdrawal of CAA and NRC.” She further adds that as an individual, she got the chance to protest in this way. She also said, “Why should we follow whatever the government says without questioning them? We are not a fascist country, we are a democracy. Our Preamble says so. We don’t need to bow down and take whatever is given at us. If we disagree, we should protest in every way we can.”

Another gold medalist, SA Mehala, “Discrimination based on religion and community cannot be tolerated by any Indian citizen. Today, it is Muslims, tomorrow it could be Christians, and the day after that it could be Dalits or other minorities. This will divide people and we should not allow this to happen.”

AS Arun Kumar, a 34-year-old anthropology scholar also refused to attend the event saying, “I didn’t want to get my degree from the President of India. He had a choice, an option, to send the bill back to the Parliament. But he did not; instead, he put his sign and made it a law.”

Rabeeha Abdurehim, who completed her masters in Mass Communication too rejected her gold medal. In a Facebook post, she wrote, “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.”

The students’ council had also organised an anti-CAA protest last week.

Source: The News Minute

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