An M. Sc gold medallist and a Ph. D scholar from the prestigious Pondicherry University have decided not to attend the annual convocation on Monday and receive their degrees from President Ram Nath Kovind to show their “resistance” to the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Karthika B Kurup and A S Arun Kumar announced their decision of boycotting the convocation by posting their message as WhatsApp status even as the Pondicherry University Students Union exhorted to students to not attend the event to be attended by Kovind.
Kurup, the M. Sc Electronic Media student who now works with a Malayalam news channel, told DH that the decision to not accept the gold medal from Kovind was an “extremely personal decision” and there was no pressure from any quarter to do so.
“I took the decision on my own. This is my own way of showing my resistance to CAA and the inevitable NRC which would soon follow. I cannot accept the gold medal from the President when the government wants to categorise citizens on the basis of religion. The CAA is an unfair legislation,” she told DH over the phone from Kochi.
Asked whether she communicated her decision to the University management, Kurup replied in the negative. The gold medallist maintained that she was under no obligation to inform the university administration since it was her personal decision.
“I don’t think I can accept the award at this time. I have not rejected the gold medal. I will not receive it from the President in protest against the CAA,” she added.
Kovind is scheduled to attend the 27th convocation of the University and give away degrees to the graduates.
Kumar, who has completed his Ph. D in anthropology, said he was in no mood to rejoice when the entire country was burning due to the CAA. “I will not attend the convocation and receive my degree from the President. I want to express my anger against the CAA and the government’s brutal crackdown on protesters,” he said.
The decision by the duo comes a week after students of Pondicherry University erupted in protest against the CAA with hundreds of them taking out a march seeking withdrawal of the legislation.