Foreign students at Gujarat University attacked

Students hailing from different foreign countries were assaulted allegedly by a group of persons in the Gujarat University hostel in Ahmedabad for offering namaz in the facility’s building, police said on Sunday. Two students – one from Sri Lanka and another from Tajikistan – were hospitalised after the incident which took place at the A-block hostel on Saturday night. One of the alleged attackers has been identified so far, they said.

An FIR was registered against 20-25 individuals, and nine teams have been formed to conduct a probe into the incident, Police Commissioner GS Malik said. Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi held a meeting with police officers and directed them to take strict and judicial action in the matter, Malik said.

The incident was reported at around 10.50 pm on Saturday when nearly two dozen people barged into the (government-run) Gujarat University’s hostel and raised an objection to students from foreign countries offering namaz in the facility where they stayed, Malik said.

“Some 20-25 people entered the hostel premises and objected to the international students offering namaz there, asking them to do so in a mosque. They argued over the issue, assaulting them and hurling stones. They also vandalised their rooms,” Malik said.

Two students, one from Sri Lanka and another from Tajikistan – have been hospitalised, he said.

“Police will take strict action against all those involved in the incident. The overall monitoring of the case will be done by the Joint Commissioner of Police of the Crime Branch. I would also like to say that one person has been identified, and the remaining accused persons will be identified. Law and order situation is under control and nobody needs to worry,” Malik said.

He said that police have in the past taken strict action against such elements, and will continue to do so in the future as well.

Several purported videos have also surfaced in which people are seen pelting stones, and in one incident, a man is seen slapping a university staffer, Malik said.

He said that the police are verifying the authenticity of these videos.

There are around 300 international students enrolled at Gujarat University, including from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka and countries in Africa, Malik said.

Nearly 75 of the international students stay in the A-block hostel of the university where the incident occurred, the officer said.

The police responded within minutes after a call was made to the control room at 10.51 pm. A police van reached the spot and action was taken, he said.

An FIR was registered against 20-25 people and they will be arrested soon, Malik said, adding the situation was under control.

Nine teams have been formed, including four from the crime branch and five from local police under DCP, to conduct a probe into the case, he said.

Gujarat University Vice Chancellor Neerja Gupta said that last night two groups clashed within the premises of the A-block hostel.

The matter escalated and some international students were hurt. An FIR has been registered. The government and police have taken the matter seriously and an investigation is underway,” she told media persons.

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