A section of students of the Pondicherry University have accepted the Students Council’s appeal to boycott their convocation ceremony on December 23, in protest against the new Citizenship Act and the proposed countrywide implementation of National Register of Citizenship.
The council had on Friday (December 20) appealed to the students of the university to be present at the convocation but not receive degrees from President Ram Nath Kovind, who is scheduled to deliver the convocation address and hand over scrolls to the graduates.
Speaking to The Federal, P Arun Kumar, a PhD scholar, said he has decided to boycott the convocation to protect the sentiments of protesting students across the country.
“Graduation is an important moment in everyone’s life. But, when the students’ community across the country is bleeding because of police brutality, I feel it is my duty to respect their feeling,” said Kumar, who completed his course in October 2018, is presently working in a private organisation.
“Though I am a former student, I respect and accept the union’s call as it had always stood for the students’ community,” he said.
Similarly, Karthika, a gold medallist of the university who is presently working in a private organisation in Chennai, also said she is unwilling to receive the degree from the president.
“We know the president cannot involve in the administration of the government. But, it is a mark of protest to show that even the passed out students of Pondicherry University are with the students protesting across the country. What we are doing now is not against the constitution as the Union Government has done with the CAA and NRC,” she said.
It is not just Arun Kumar and Karthika who have accepted the union’s call to boycott the convocation. The Federal spoke to a dozen of people who confirmed they would attend the convocation, but will not receive their degrees from the president.
Earlier on Friday night, Students Council president Parichay Yadav and secretary V Kuralanban released a joint statement appealing the graduates to boycott convocation to express solidarity with the protesting students across the country “facing state repression”.
“In the light of the ongoing protest against the Amended Citizenship Act and NRC all over the country, the council refused to facilitate it and has decided to boycott the event,” the release from the council said.
The release said the decision was taken to express solidarity with students across the country “facing state repression” and its strong protest against the implementation of unconstitutional legislation. It said the management of the university had sought the cooperation of the council to facilitate holding of the convocation function.
The President is the Visitor of the University under the provisions of the Central Act under which the university was set up in 1985.
The University will hold its 27th convocation on December 23. Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Members of Parliament from Puducherry V Vaithilingam and N Gokulakrishnan and the University Vice-Chancellor Gurmeet would be among those present at the convocation.
Meanwhile, Puducherry police have been collecting details of students who are planning a protest in the university campus on the day of convocation.