International Students Attacked For Offering Namaz At Gujarat University: Civil Society Demands Action

International Students Attacked For Offering Namaz At Gujarat University: Civil Society Demands Action

Gujarat-based businessman and former chancellor of Hyderabad's Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Zafar Sareshwala, said he has discussed the issue with senior state government officials and expressed hope that such incidents will not recur.

PTIUpdated: Monday, March 18, 2024, 05:14 PM IST
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File | Left Scene From The Attack, Right Gujarat High Court

Civil society groups on Monday condemned the attack on international students for offering namaz in the Gujarat University hostel premises and demanded strict action against the perpetrators and police personnel who allegedly failed to stop the assault.

Gujarat-based businessman and former chancellor of Hyderabad's Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Zafar Sareshwala, said he has discussed the issue with senior state government officials and expressed hope that such incidents will not recur.

"Beating & Heaping Abuse to International Students in Gujarat University While they were Offering Ramadan Taraweeh inside Hostel! I have Spoken to Highest officials in GujaratGovernment. They have assured Strictest & Tough Action Against Miscreants," Sareshwala said in a post on X.

Reacting to his post, when a person asked why some people offer namaz in public places without authorisation, Sareshwala said the students "had taken permission from the authorities and this Taraweeh in RamadanKareem has been going on for years", indicating the place near the hostel block has been designated to offer namaz.

When another X user requested him to visit the campus to reassure the students, Sareshwala said Police Commissioner G S Malik has already visited the place and assured the students.

The police have also filed an FIR against the perpetrators, he added.

Civil rights NGO People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said the attack on the international students was deeply concerning and demanded stern action against the perpetrators.

In a letter to police commissioner Malik and Gujarat Director General of Police Vikas Sahay, the state unit of PUCL said the attack was a result of religious intolerance which is against the secular ethos of the Constitution and Indian culture which believes in "Atithi Devo Bhava" (guest is akin to God).

"All the perpetrators must be arrested at the earliest. Videos of the incident suggest that police were present at the spot when the attackers were leaving after attacking the students. Appropriate action should also be taken against those policemen who failed to take timely action despite being present there," the letter said.

The NGO also demanded compensation to the students whose belongings were destroyed in the attack.

The state organising committee of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) also condemned the incident and demanded action against the miscreants as well as policemen who, according to the NGO, were present there but did not save the students from the attack.

"It was not an isolated incident. The attack was a pre-planned conspiracy because police were also present. We demand action against not just the perpetrators, but also the policemen who were present there. This incident has tarnished the image of India in the world," the organisation said in a statement.

On Saturday night, students hailing from different foreign countries were assaulted by a group of persons for offering namaz near the hostel block of the Gujarat University in Ahmedabad, according to the police.

Two students - one from Sri Lanka and another from Tajikistan - were hospitalised after the incident which took place in the A-block hostel, they said.

Following the incident, an FIR was registered against 20-25 unidentified persons under various Indian Penal Code sections, including for rioting, unlawful assembly, voluntarily causing hurt, damage to property and criminal trespass.

So far, five persons have been arrested while search is on for the others involved in the incident, the police said.

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