Int'l Students In Maharashtra Share Apprehensions After Attacks In Gujarat

Int'l Students In Maharashtra Share Apprehensions After Attacks In Gujarat

After international students in a Gujarat University hostel came under attack, Foreign students in Maharashtra expressed apprehensions.

Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Thursday, March 21, 2024, 10:44 AM IST
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Students claims that a sense of fear has gripped the students from different countries after the incident. | Representative image

Mumbai: Scepticism is overtly visible among a section of the international students living in Maharashtra following the violent attacks on five international Muslim students at Gujarat University over offering namaz during Ramadan.

International students in Mumbai and Pune shared their apprehensions with The Free Press Journal (FPJ) regarding their safety concerns.

A student from Africa's Rwanda studying at the University of Mumbai, said that the Gujarat incident was unfortunate in which African students were mistreated.

"Unfortunately, the majority of us still adhere and subscribe to a lot of racial stereotypes like all Africans are drug peddlers, etc, but once you get past the initial glares, sniggers and curious looks, Indians are extremely warm and welcoming people. You will find our warmth a little too intrusive and overbearing, "says the student.

Similarly, Aksel Hinrichs, a student from Denmark studying at IIT Bombay, voices concern over the recent events but praises Mumbai as a safe and welcoming city.

"The initial shift to the city was challenging but eventually, I began making myself at home and became a part of Mumbai," Hinrichs said.

"Although these incidents (the attacks on international students at Gujarat University) do play a great factor to foreign students who are looking to come to India as the statistic is quite low in comparison to the western countries," Hinrichs added.

While investigations are ongoing and arrests have been made, a delegation of the African nation Gambia has also visited the Gujarat University campus and held a meeting with its vice-chancellor over the safety measures.

Another African student, Bokor Mousa from Tanzania, studying at the University of Mumbai claims that a sense of fear has gripped the students from different countries after the incident.

"There are many who nurture and romanticise studying in India but I think the security of foreign students, especially those who come from Africa and the Muslim community is often compromised," said Mousa.

Safra Riswan Hussein, a Sri Lankan student at Symbiosis International University, Pune, said she hasn't been treated any differently than an Indian. But that's largely because she speaks Hindi, the most common language in the city.

The attack on the international students, which took place on Mar 17 in Gujarat is ironic given that in December 2023, NITI Aayog's CEO, BVR Subrahmanyam, announced plans to attract half a million foreign students to India by 2047.

Whether those many students will come to India according to the ambitious plan is now a question of time given the spate of events.

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