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18 Mar, 2024 09:26

Foreign students attacked in India over Ramadan prayer

Police have identified around 25 people who broke into a university campus in Gujarat
Foreign students attacked in India over Ramadan prayer

At least two international students were injured in a mob attack in western India’s Gujarat state, allegedly for offering namaz (a form of worship performed by Muslims) on campus. Police have identified around 25 people responsible for the violence and have arrested two individuals in connection with the case.

The incident took place in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat, on Saturday night when Muslims across the world held Taraweeh prayer sessions, which are performed during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Around a dozen students had gathered to offer namaz in a Gujarat University dormitory when a mob armed with sticks and knives broke in, NDTV reported.

Video clips of the skirmish, which have been doing the rounds on social media, show an altercation that ended in a brawl. The attackers allegedly damaged bikes, broke laptops, and wrecked rooms before leaving the scene, just as the police arrived.

A student from Afghanistan who spoke to the media said that five students, including one each from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Turkmenistan and two from African countries, were injured in the clash. The police later told the media that the students from Sri Lanka & Tajikistan were hospitalized.

According to Gyanender Singh Malik, Ahmedabad’s Commissioner of Police, around 20-25 people broke into the dormitory, questioning the students why they were conducting prayers there, and not in the mosque. This led to a verbal altercation and later a fight. Police took “swift action” and complaints have been registered against 20-25 people, he added. On Sunday, police arrested two of the accused under several sections of India’s penal code.

Around 300 international students are studying at Gujarat University, according to reports in the Indian media.

Vice-chancellor Neerja Gupta said that Gujarat University will hold orientation sessions for its overseas students to train them in “cultural sensitivity” in the wake of the incident. “When you go abroad, you must learn cultural sensitivity,” she was quoted as saying by NDTV.

The students alleged that they had gathered inside the dormitory to offer a Ramadan prayer as there was no mosque on campus.

The External Affairs Ministry of India commented on the incident on Sunday, stating that it was “in touch” with the Gujarat government, which is “taking strict action against the perpetrators.” In a post on X, the ministry’s spokesperson asserted that one of the victims had been discharged from the hospital after receiving medical attention.

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