Foreign students at Indian university attacked during Ramadan prayers

Two people have been arrested in connection with the incident in the western state of Gujarat

This screengrab shows an injured student being taken to hospital. The university plans to move those attacked during taraweeh prayers to different accommodation. Photo: X
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Police in India have arrested two people after a group of international students were attacked during Ramadan prayers at a university hostel in Gujarat, western India.

At least four students were injured on Saturday night when a Hindu far-right mob allegedly stormed the hostel during taraweeh prayers. The group of praying students included citizens of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and several African countries. Those injured were treated at hospital.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs said it would take “strict actions against the perpetrators”. Two people were arrested by Ahmedabad Police on Sunday in connection with the attack and were identified as Hitesh Mewada and Bharat Patel.

GS Malik, police commissioner of Ahmedabad city, said about two dozen people entered the hostel and objected to the students offering prayers and called on them to do so in a mosque. There is no mosque on the university campus.

“They argued over the issue, assaulting them and hurling stones. They also vandalised their rooms,” Mr Malik said.

Afghan student Navid Siddique, who was injured in the attack, told The Times of India the incident came after an argument with some of the attackers during the prayers.

“They returned with a larger mob armed with stones, iron pipes and attacked us,” he said. "They went on a rampage in the hostel, assaulting students in their rooms and damaging property and vehicles."

Dr Neerja A Gupta, vice chancellor of the university, denied the incident was the result of the prayers and said tensions had been increasing between the international students and the attackers for some time.

The international students will be moved to new hostels with better security and facilities, Dr Gupta said.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 12:42 PM