Int'l Muslim Students Of Gujarat University Attacked By Hindutva Mob Over Namaz, Several Hurt - Vibes Of India

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Int’l Muslim Students Of Gujarat University Attacked By Hindutva Mob Over Namaz, Several Hurt

| Updated: March 17, 2024 16:08

Foreign Muslim students studying at Gujarat University in Ahmedabad were allegedly attacked on the campus on Saturday night, leading to injuries to many.

According to reports, a scuffle broke out after the vandals, shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans, objected to students from African countries, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan offering namaz on the university campus. This escalated into vandalism and stone pelting.

Ahmedabad Police in a post on X confirmed the attack on foreign students. Two of the injured students have been admitted to SVP Hospital in the city.

“In the Gujarat University campus last night, students from other countries were assaulted by unknown assailants. The police immediately arrived and took control of the situation. A case has been registered against the accused,” read a post by the police.

GS Malik, Ahmedabad commissioner of police said the police had registered FIRs against 20-25 people and the situation was under control.

“Around 300 foreign students study in Gujarat University and around 75 foreign students stay in A Block (Hostel). On Saturday, around 10.30pm a group of students were offering namaz. Around 20-25 people came and asked them why they were offering namaz here and should instead read it in the masjid,” said Malik.

“An argument broke out between them, stones were pelted and their rooms were vandalised by the people who came from outside. Police took swift action & an FIR was registered against 20-25 people. Action will be taken against those involved. One person has been identified. Law & order situation is under control now. Two students from Sri Lanka & Tajikistan are admitted to the hospital,” said GS Malik.

A policeman claimed that an Afghan student first attacked a group of Hindus who had asked him why he was offering namaz in public and this led to the brawl. However, the police chief did not confirm this.

Videos showing vandalism and stone pelting have gone viral on social media. The clips also showed damaged bikes, broken laptops and ravaged rooms. In some of the visuals, people are seen throwing stones at the hostel and hurling abuses at the overseas students. In the visuals, the international students are heard saying that they are “scared” and that “this is unacceptable”.

The students said that there is no mosque on the Ahmedabad-based campus, so they had gathered inside the hostel to offer taraweeh – a namaz offered at night during Ramadan. Soon after, a mob armed with sticks and knives stormed the hostel, attacked them and vandalised their rooms, they alleged. The students have said the security guard of the hostel tried to stop the mob, but failed.

A student from Afghanistan said people in the mob raised slogans and asked them who had allowed them to offer namaz in the hostel. “They attacked us inside the rooms too. They broke laptops, phones and damaged bikes,” he said.

“The mob had fled by the time police arrived,” they added.

Reacting to the attack on the students, AIMIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, in a post on X, termed the incident shameful and questioned whether PM Modi and the home minister would take action or not.

“What a shame. When your devotion & religious slogans only come out when Muslims peacefully practice their religion. When you become unexplainably angry at the mere sight of Muslims. What is this, if not mass radicalisation? This is the home state of Amit Shah & Narendra Modi, will they intervene to send a strong message? I am not holding my breath. Dr S Jaishankar domestic anti-Muslim hatred is destroying India’s goodwill,” he wrote on X.

Meanwhile, state home minister Harsh Sanghavi has reportedly spoken to Gujarat’s top police officers and directed them to arrest the accused as soon as possible and ensure a fair probe.

It must be noted that back in 2019, all the 300 foreign students in Gujarat University’s Study Abroad Programme (SAP) were directed to sign an undertaking that they won’t approach the media or police without prior permission of university officials.

The directive came after several students from South Asian countries complained of “unhygienic, cramped accommodation” provided to them and warns that “engagement with any outer agency like media or police without prior permission of Gujarat University authorities shall invite immediate expulsion for violating the code of conduct from university/colleges and deportment to their country”.

And among the 300 foreign students, 35 from Afghanistan, in September, were shifted against their wish to a Muslim-dominated area of Lal Darwaja, some 10 km from the campus in Ahmedabad, because of “their eating habits and culture”.

“The (Afghan) students staying at the Lal Darwaja facility are mostly, in fact, all are Muslims. So, looking at their eating habits, community and culture they are put up there. There were attempts to provide a hostel facility in the western parts of the city but we received complaints from both students and neighbours about their habits of eating non-vegetarian food. The students also complained that they do not get non-vegetarian food easily. So these facilities were shut down,” SAP and Diaspora Studies Advisor and coordinator Neerja Gupta had then said.

Gupta, also the principal of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan PG College of Arts and Commerce in Khanpur, also said the directive to foreign students was necessary. “Of course we did (take the undertaking). We have a reason to do so. There was a false report about hostel conditions of boys flats (which is known as Information and Library Network, INFLIBNET) in a local channel some time back. Students do not understand the consequences of such a thing but it tarnishes the image of our country,” she said.

The students, primarily from South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation(SAARC) and African countries, are part of the Study Abroad Programme (SAP) under Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Educational Consultants India Limited (EdCIL) scholarships.

The 300 students are enrolled in the Gujarat University’s departments and around nine affiliated colleges in and around Ahmedabad. Three hostels are provided — one for girls and two for boys — by the university to accommodate these students, said Gupta

One of the residents at the INFLIBNET block said, “I have been staying in this hostel for two years and whenever my family makes a video call and asks me to show the place where I stay, I make an excuse and go to the terrace to talk to them. I cannot show them this condition. This is really not what we had expected before coming here.”

At one Gujarat University hostel, students are accommodated in a two-storey building with 16 rooms on each floor. Three women are crammed in one poorly-ventilated dingy room with little storage space, no canteen, proper drinking water or even toilets.

“The last time when we complained to the authorities … we were threatened against approaching any authority and forced to sign an undertaking,” said another student.

An Afghan student at Lal Darwaja said: “All Afghans do not eat non-vegetarian food. Provide me with a hostel near my college I will not eat non-vegetarian food.”

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