Two held for Gujarat University violence

At least five foreign national students suffered injuries following a late-night brawl on Gujarat varsity hostel campus 

March 17, 2024 10:04 am | Updated 11:37 pm IST - Ahmedabad

Congress MLA Imran Khedawala and former MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh visiting an injured student in the hospital.

Congress MLA Imran Khedawala and former MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh visiting an injured student in the hospital. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Ahmedabad Police on Sunday arrested two persons — Hitesh Mewada and Bharat Patel — in connection with violence at Gujarat University in which at least five foreign national students suffered injuries following a late-night brawl on the hostel campus. 

The police have booked more than a dozen others and the investigation is under way, which may lead to more arrests. The police have formed several teams to nab the culprits. 

Two students, one from Sri Lanka and another from Tajikistan, were hospitalised after the violence took place in the boy’s hostel’s A-block on Saturday night. 

As many as five international students, who are from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka, were offering namaz when an outside mob allegedly protested and shouted religious slogans, which led to an altercation between the two groups and subsequent violence. 

According to the police, Hitesh Mewada and Bharat Patel have been arrested under multiple Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), and 447 (punishment for trespass), among others. 

Rooms vandalised

“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,” said Ahmedabad Police Commissioner G.S. Malik. 

After the incident was reported, Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghvi held a meeting with top police officials, including Director General of Police Vikas Sahay and Mr. Malik regarding the situation. 

Mr. Malik said the overall monitoring of the case would be done by the Joint Commissioner of Police of the Crime Branch and the law and order situation was under control. 

He said the police had in the past taken strict action against such elements and would continue to do so in the future as well. Several purported videos of the alleged incident also surfaced, showing people pelting stones, and in one incident a man is seen slapping a university staff member. 

Gujarat University’s Vice-Chancellor Neeraja Arun Gupta said in a statement: “Last night [on Saturday night], around 10.30 p.m., an incident took place in the hostel where the foreign students stay. Around 300 students study here out of which 75 stay in the A Block — dedicated to foreign students. There was a clash between two groups after which the issue escalated. Some foreign students were injured. An FIR has been registered. The police and the government have taken this issue seriously. The investigation is underway. Some videos are viral and the police are trying to investigate the trigger points.”

Reacting to the incident, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the Gujarat Police had taken strict measures. 

“An incident of violence took place at Gujarat University in Ahmedabad. The State government is taking strict action against the perpetrators.  Two foreign students were injured in the clash. One of them has been discharged from hospital after receiving medical attention. The MEA is in touch with the Gujarat government,” said MEA spokesman Randhir Jaiswal in a post on social media platform X. 

Congress legislator Imran Khedawala and former MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh visited the hospital to meet the injured students. Both the leaders demanded strict action against those who resorted to violence.

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