Police have arrested five people in India for assaulting some international students in a university hostel while offering Ramadan prayers.
According to officials, there was a big fight at Gujarat University in western India on Saturday over the location of the prayer, the BBC reports.Police sources disclosed that five students were treated for injuries as a result of the fight.

Confirming the incident, India’s foreign ministry said that the Gujarat government was taking “strict action” against the perpetrators.

Also, the police commissioner of Ahmedabad city, GS Malik, told newsmen that about two dozen people entered the hostel on Saturday night and objected to the students offering prayers, asking them to do so in a mosque.

“They argued over the issue, assaulting them and hurling stones. They also vandalised their rooms,” he said, adding that a team had been formed to investigate the case.

Another senior police official, Tarun Duggal, told BBC Gujarati that the names of the five arrested men are Hitesh Mewada, Bharat Patel, Shitij Pandey, Jitendra Patel and Sunil Dudhirua.

He said they have yet to make any public statements while in police custody.

The police source added that more people may be arrested soon.

The police, however, have not confirmed whether the men are connected to any political or religious organisations.

BBC Gujarati reporters who visited the spot on Saturday said that they saw stones and broken vehicles at the scene.

Also, videos circulating online showed a mob raising Hindu religious slogans as they attacked the students, vandalised vehicles and pelted stones.

Three of the injured students have been discharged from the hospital, while two others are in stable condition.

A student from Afghanistan who was injured in the attack, Navid Siddique, told the Times of India newspaper that he and other students were offering Taraweeh, a special nightly prayer occurring during Ramadan, when three people entered the hostel and began questioning them.

He claimed, “An argument ensued and they returned with a larger mob armed with stones, and iron pipes and attacked us. They went on a rampage in the hostel, assaulting students in their rooms and damaging property and vehicles.”

Another student from Afghanistan, Noman, told BBC Gujarati that similar incidents had happened before, saying, “There is a lot of risk here for students from other countries.”

Police say around 300 foreign students—many from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and African countries—study at the university.

According to reports, the injured students were in India with scholarships from the federal government-backed Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

Reacting, the vice-chancellor of Gujarat University, Dr Neerja A Gupta, told reporters over the weekend that there had been tensions between the foreign students and the attackers for some time.

“As per the information available with me, this (prayers) is not the main issue,” she told reporters.

Gupta disclosed that the international students will be moved to new hostels that offer improved security and amenities.