The incident, although maybe trivial, is significant because it points toward the level of communalism that has crept into society
Syed Ali Mujtaba | Clarion India
GURGAON – The sight of a few African students offering zohar namaz (afternoon prayers) at the football ground of GD Goenka University on the Sohna-Gurgaon road in the NCR triggered a communal discord early this week with around a group of 20 Hindu students protesting against Muslim prayers being held in the open field.
The videos of the protestors holding demonstrations and shouting slogans like ‘Jai Shree Ram,’ and “Bharat Matta ki Jai” in the corridor of the campus that surfaced on social media went viral instantaneously.
The protesting students contended that the namaz should not be offered in the open by the Muslim students. They can offer namaz either in their hostel rooms or at their place of worship. They went on to submit a written complaint to the college authorities to register their protest.
Dr. Dhirendra Singh Parihar, the registrar of the GD Goenka University, told the media that around “8-10” foreign students, mostly from African countries (Nigeria, Ethiopia, etc.) were playing football when it was the time for their prayer; they stopped playing and offered namaz on the field itself.
“After the demonstrations by some Hindu students, these foreign students were sensitised about the matter and assured them that they can offer prayers in their hostel rooms or at a mosque, but not in the open,” Dr.for Parihar said.
The registrar denied the rumours that a separate room is allocated for offering namaz, clarifying that the university does not discriminate between communities and calls the rumour “baseless”. “The entire incident lasted for bout 15-20 minutes and the matter was resolved amicably after a discussion,” he added.
Naveen Sindhu, ACP, Sohna, told the media that it appears there had been some misunderstanding among students, but the matter was resolved there itself and it did not escalate beyond the university campus.
The incident, although maybe trivial, is significant because it points toward the level of communalism that has crept into society. It no longer revolves in the realm of the political domain, but its toxicity has percolated down to the youth, especially among college-going students.
The Hindutva ideology has now acquired a huge social base that would be hard to dismantle. It is beyond comprehension how such deep-rooted communal ideology can be de-communalised. This is something that should bother every sane Indian. Will the ideas of unity in diversity ever be restored in our country?
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org