By Debjani Dutta/Express News Service
Puduchery, December 23: The only Muslim girl among 10 gold medallists from Pondicherry University, chosen to receive the award from the President of India Ram Nath Kovind, was unceremoniously pulled out of the convocation function at the last moment on Monday, allegedly for wearing a hijab.
The incident, coming amidst nationwide protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, has fuelled anger among the student community.
Rabeeha Abdurehim topped her class in MA Mass Communication. “I was seated along with other students inside the Jawaharlal Nehru auditorium when a woman Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) asked me to step out with her. She said she wanted to have a word with me,” Rabeeha told Express.
“When I stepped out, I was asked why I had worn my headscarf differently,” Rabeeha said.
When the student told the police that it is how she usually wears her scarf, she was allegedly told to sit outside the auditorium.
“The SSP, Akansha Yadav, went back to the hall and locked the door behind her. When I heard the programme start, I asked the policemen outside why I wasn’t allowed to participate. But they gave me no answer. Neither did the SSP come back. Receiving the gold medal in front of a cheering crowd had been my dream. I did not imagine it being ruined like this,” she said.
“I had no intention of boycotting an award that I had earned through my hard work. But, now that they have discriminated against me, I don’t want it anymore.” While 189 students won gold medals, only 10 were handpicked to receive the awards from the President.