A student of Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, refused to accept his Masters (History of Arts) degree in protest over the arrest of almost 70 anti-CAA protestors (including both students and activists) in Varanasi.

At the institution’s annual convocation and degree distribution ceremony, Singh was seen refusing the certificate on stage. While his words are inaudible, Singh appears to be explaining his protest to the faculty member who was offering him the degree.

Singh elaborated on the reason for his protest in a statement: “Maine apni degree isliye nahi li kyunki unnis taariq ko hue CAA ke against protest mein bahut saare students ko giraftaar kiya gaya hai. Mein un giraftaariyon ka virodh karta hu, iss sampradayik kanoon ka virodh karta hu, mein desh ko baatne vaale har kanoon ka virodh karta hu. (I did not accept my degree because at the protests against CAA of 19 December, numerous students were arrested. I oppose these arrests, I oppose this communal law, I oppose any law that attempts to divide the nation).”

The student also condemned the BHU administration for not being affected by these arrests. “Khaas kar jo chhatra, humaare saath jinka aaj convocation tha, vow jail mein hai aur university ko iss se koi farak nahi padta. Mein iss liye yeh degree nahi lunga. (Especially those students, who were to have their convocation alongside us today, they are in jail and the university does not care about this. That is why I won’t accept this degree.)”

Varanasi has seen widespread protest against the Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizens. The administration of BHU also issued a statement barring students from participating in the protests. Almost 70 protestors were arrested in Varanasi’s protest, many of whom were BHU students.

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