The Gujarat University has asked nearly 300 students in its Study Abroad Programme to sign an undertaking that they will not approach the media or police without taking permission from university officials, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The order came after many students from other South Asian countries complained of unhygienic and cramped accommodation 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.
Meanwhile, in September 2018, the university shifted 35 Afghan students living at its campus in Ahmedabad to a Muslim-dominated locality in Lal Darwaza against their wishes, The Wire reported. The students were shifted because of their “eating habits and culture”.
“The students staying at the Lal Darwaja facility are mostly, in fact, all are Muslims,” Study Abroad Programme 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.”
Gupta also admitted that the university had issued a directive to students not to talk to the media or police. However, she claimed it was necessary as false reports about the conditions in boys hostels had reached a local channel a while ago. “Students do not understand the consequences of such a thing but it tarnishes the image of our country,” Gupta claimed.
“I have been staying in this hostel for two years and whenever my family makes a video call and asks me to show the place where I stay, I make an excuse and go to the terrace to talk to them,” an unidentified student at the hostel told the newspaper. “I cannot show them this condition. This is really not what we had expected before coming here.”