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Safety of foreign students in question

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on June 26, 2024 with No Comments

What actually happened?

Around 10:30 PM on last Saturday, five international students were offering namaz during Ramzan. They were from Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and African nations pursuing different courses under Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarships. Since there is no mosque on campus, the students gathered at a spot in the hostel building to offer namaz.  A mob of about 20-25 people, armed with sticks, entered the campus and asked them to go to a mosque and offer namaz. As they refused, a scuffle broke out and led to stone pelting and vandalism. Videos of this went viral on social media. Reports say that the mob chased the students to their rooms. A student from Afghanistan told media in India that the people in the mob raised slogans, attacked them and broke laptops, phones and damaged bikes.  In another video doing rounds online, a person is seen asking the security guard, “Why are they offering namaz here? Is this a place to offer namaz?” Seconds later an agitated student runs towards the man and starts slapping him. Some have claimed this triggered the violence.



On Saturday, a group of people entered the Gujarat University hostel in Ahmedabad and attacked foreign students who were offering namaz inside the premises. The victims included foreign nationals studying in India on government scholarships.

Police said the mob objected to the students praying on campus during the holy month of Ramadan, with the incident at the University of Gujarat in Ahmedabad involving foreign students from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. At least two were injured in the attack.

The state police have been quick to act and arrest some of the perpetrators. The external affairs ministry has stepped in to control potential damage to India’s international image. An FIR was registered against 20-25 unidentified assailants, and nine teams were formed to conduct a probe into the incident.

So far, five persons have been arrested in connection with the incident, police said


Though the university authorities have said this is the first time such an incident has taken place on the campus, the local administration needs to investigate the attackers and send out a tough message that there will be zero tolerance for mob violence. However, a day later the university added another aspects to the issue.  Gujarat University Vice-Chancellor Neerja Gupta has claimed that the offering of Namaz was not the only trigger behind the attack on foreign students. The Vice-Chancellor claimed that foreign students eat non-vegetarian food, and dumping of leftovers could have sparked the violence.

The explanation by the vice chancellor shows that how insensitive is she and for that matter the system towards the foreign students and that too from other religion. Her statement indicates that authorities are still not fully aware of the multiculturalism and diversity.

Earlier, the vice chancellor had stated that the foreign students will be sensitised to respect the local culture! However, what about sensitising the locals to respect the foreigners ? Specially when there is an extraordinary stress on “ athithi devo bhava” (Guest is God).

It’s the responsibility of the university to make the students feel safe and to stop the hooligans from entry the campus. But the authorities are busy here in finding reasons for approving the action of the goons. The foreign students have not violated any law by offering Namaz and observing Roza. The university should have made arrangements for Muslim students to follow their religious need in the month of Ramadan, as the Indian constitution is based on secularism and does not exclude  any faith.

At a time when India claims itself to be a force to reckon with in its international affairs and has been attracting a large number of students from its neighbouring countries and African nations, it must not let its image take a dent.














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