Gujarat: Varsity relocate Afghan students over “food habit, community & culture”

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat University has taken an undertaking from about nearly 300 foreign students in its Study Abroad Programme (SAP) gagging them from approaching the media or police without taking permission from the university officials.

The Indian Express reported on Thursday that the directive came after many students from South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation(SAARC) and African countries complained of “unhygienic, cramped accommodation” provided to them in hostels.

“Engagement with any outer agency like media or police without prior permission of Gujarat University authorities, shall invite immediate expulsion for violating the code of conduct from university/colleges and deportment to your country,” the order says. The students have come to India through the Study Abroad Programme under Indian Council of Cultural Relations.

The university, in September, 2018 also shifted 35 students from Afghanistan living at its campus to Lal Darwaja, a Muslim-dominated locality against their wishes.

The Afghan students were shifted because of their “eating habits, community and culture.”

“The students staying at the Lal Darwaja facility are mostly, in fact, all are Muslims,” SAP and Diaspora Studies Advisor Neerja Gupta told The Indian Express.

“So, looking at their eating habits, community and culture they are put up there. There were attempts to provide a hostel facility in the western parts of the city but we received complaints from both students and neighbours about their habits of eating non-vegetarian food. The students also complained that they do not get non-vegetarian food easily. So these facilities were shut down,” she added.

Gupta also admitted that the gag order to foreign students was necessary.

“Of course we did (take the undertaking). We have a reason to do so. There was a false report about hostel conditions of boys flats (which is known as Information and Library Network, INFLIBNET) in a local channel some time back. Students do not understand the consequences of such a thing but it tarnishes the image of our country,” she said.