A group of over 20 students from GD Goenka University on the Sohna-Gurgaon road staged a protest after some foreign students offered namaz at a football ground of the university earlier this week.
Sources said the protesting students raised ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans and lodged a complaint with the registrar, stating that he “should not practice any religion…study namaz…in an open space”. A video of some students allegedly chanting ‘Ek hi naara, ek hi naam, Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram’ has also surfaced.
According to the registrar, the events took place on Tuesday for a “short” duration. “8-10 foreign students, mostly from African countries (Nigeria, Ethiopia, etc.), were playing football on the field. At the time of prayer, they offered namaz in the field in the open. A group of up to 20 students objected to the prayers being offered in the open. There was some slogan in the corridor. The protestant group argued that students should offer namaz in their hostel rooms or their place of worship. The group subsequently filed a complaint. The entire incident lasted for 15-20 minutes and the matter was settled amicably after an argument. Foreign students were sensitized and told that they can offer prayers in hostel rooms or a mosque, not in the open,” said Dr Dhirendra Singh Parihar, the registrar.
The registrar denied rumors that the university had allotted a room to some students for namaz. “These rumors are baseless. The university does not discriminate between any community. There has been no conflict in the university in the past on these issues,” he said, adding that the protesting students had no political affiliation.
The protestant student group filed a complaint with the registrar’s office on August 30.
In the complaint, the students said that “there should be no practice of any religion studying namaz in a room not more than three students and not in open spaces (sic)”. “If they want to study namaz, then they should go to the hostel room assigned to them… especially outsiders cannot worship namaz… they should go to the nearby mosque. There should have a class on Friday for all students and no one should get a proxy if they go to (a) worship namaz (sic),” the complaint read.
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The complaint further stated that there should be no discrimination between Hindus and Muslims. “There should be different dishes categorized as veg or non-veg in the hostel. The plates should not be mixed,” the complaint added.
Naveen Sindhu, ACP Sohna said, “The matter had come to our knowledge. The SHO of City Sohna went to the college. There had been some misunderstanding among the students regarding offering namaz prayers. When the team police arrived, the matter had already been resolved between the students and the university management. We have not received any written complaint.”