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Attack on foreign students: Gujarat varsity's reputation, ranking at stake, say academics

Counterview Desk 
Expressing anguish over the attack on international students in Gujarat University hostels, a letter claimed to have been signed by 122 current and former academics has asked the Gujarat Vice Chancellor, Dr Neerja Gupta, to provide emotional support to the attacked students and to ensure their physical safety.  
The letter asks the Vice Chancellor to ensure swift action by the police against the perpetrators of the attack and follow up with the police as to why it allowed the miscreants to leave the site in their presence.  The University should look into ways of compensating the students for their losses, it adds.  
The signatories suggest that the University should provide sensitisation to all students of the University about the diversity of religious faiths and practices and about the importance of mutual respect for beliefs and practices of all faiths.
The letter, received by Counterview as a direct message on social media, says, it has been signed by Dr Raghavan Rangarajan,  Dr Navdeep Mathur, Dr Neha Shah, Dr Ghanshyam Shah "and Ahmedabad 118 other academics and concerned citizens". It does not reveal full list of signatories.


It is with great anguish that we, current and retired academics from Gujarat and other States, hear that some students of Gujarat University were attacked in the Gujarat University hostels while they were praying and their rooms vandalised.  
A university campus is a safe space for all students and the manner in which students were targeted is condemnable.  
The video footage that has been seen in the press will allow Gujarat University to pursue this matter and ensure that the miscreants are identified and prosecuted.  
More immediate action may be taken against the miscreants who are from the University.  We presume that the University is providing emotional support to the students who were attacked as well as taking steps to ensure their physical safety.
This incident has sadly tarnished the reputation of Gujarat University, both within the country and abroad as the students who were attacked were from foreign countries.  Its reputation as a premier educational institution with the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Government of India, ranking of 61 among universities will be damaged if student security cannot be established.
In your engagement with the press you have shared that the police is investigating the incident. We urge you to also issue a public statement condemning the incident so that citizens of India and elsewhere can recognise that Gujarat University does not condone hooliganism and violence against its students.
It would be appropriate to sensitise all students about diversity of religious faiths and practices and importance of mutual respect
A message to all students of the University, and personally to the victims of the attack, reassuring them of the University’s commitment to their safety will provide some succour to all students who may be feeling insecure in light of the attack.   
Moreover, visible actions by the University that indicate that it is vigorously pursuing with the police for swift action against the perpetrators of the attack will send the right signal to all concerned that Gujarat University is a serious academic institution that is committed to creating the right environment for scholarship and education.  
At the least, the University must pursue with the Ahmedabad City Police as to why the miscreants were allowed to leave the University campus in their presence, as has been seen in videos, instead of being detained for questioning and investigation.
You have mentioned in your interaction with the press that the international students will be provided with cultural sensitisation.  It would be equally appropriate to provide sensitisation to all students about the diversity of religious faiths and practices and about the importance of mutual respect for beliefs and practices of all faiths.
News reports indicate that the miscreants damaged laptops and other equipment of the students.  The University should also look into ways of compensating the students for their losses.


Polarising the population by targeting minorities on religious grounds and promoting hate as tools for remaining in power will have such seriously damaging side effects in the society.In the present political environment,it appears that such events have tacit approval of authorities concerned.
Arif kazi said…
This incident shows a worst example internationally that whether some community hates other religion on their religious activities.. I being recruiting employees for international corporates never are bias or hate candidates while recruiting. Is it that the hate speeches are now being converted into action? Being a political student, we were taught that religion should not never be mixed with politics..


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