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Israel supporter chants 'Jai Shri Ram' to counter anti-India slogans raised in US campus protests (WATCH)

In a video that went viral, an individual supporting Israel was captured chanting "Jai Shri Ram" in response to anti-India slogans amidst the pro-Palestine demonstrations at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Israel supporter chants 'Jai Shri Ram' to counter anti-India slogans raised in US campus protests (WATCH) snt
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First Published Apr 29, 2024, 11:52 AM IST

The ongoing pro-Palestinian protests across various US campuses have not only stirred passionate debates about the Israel-Palestine conflict but also sparked unexpected moments of tension and solidarity. One such incident occurred at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where an Israel supporter responded to anti-India slogans with a chant of "Jai Shri Ram," adding a new layer of complexity to the already charged atmosphere.

Over the weekend, clashes between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel demonstrators intensified at UCLA, mirroring similar scenes unfolding at other campuses like Indiana University at Bloomington, Arizona State University, and Washington University in St. Louis. The situation at UCLA reached a boiling point when some protesters breached a barrier intended to separate the opposing factions, leading to physical altercations, verbal confrontations, and a flurry of arrests.

Also read: Pro-Palestine protests in US: New York students admit having no idea why they are protesting (WATCH)

In the midst of the chaos, an American nationalist took a bold stance by chanting "Jai Shri Ram," a Hindu rallying cry often associated with sentiments of devotion and nationalism in India. The chant, typically used to express allegiance to Lord Rama, took on a new context as it was wielded as a counter-response to the anti-India rhetoric that emerged during the protests.

Mary Osako, UCLA's vice chancellor for strategic communications, noted that demonstrators from both sides engaged in physical altercations, vocalized slogans and insults, and, in certain instances, resorted to exchanging punches. "UCLA has a long history of being a place of peaceful protest, and we are heartbroken about the violence that broke out," Osako said in a statement.

Last week, pro-Palestinian protests unfolded across US campuses, resulting in a significant number of arrests. At New York's Columbia University alone, over 100 demonstrators were detained, with additional arrests made at New York University and Yale University. The University of Southern California also experienced a surge in arrests, surpassing the 100 mark. In a particularly tense situation, riot police were compelled to intervene at the University of Texas at Austin, forcibly dispersing the demonstration by storming the gates.

Protesters are demanding a ceasefire in Israel's ongoing war with Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, the divestment of university assets in companies involved with the Israeli military, and an end to American military assistance to Israel. The unapproved protests, according to administrators, disrupt instruction and encourage harassment and antisemitism. Columbian administrators are among many who claim that these protests violate school policy. 

Also read: Indian-origin woman, studying in Princeton University, arrested for taking part in pro-Palestine protests

Amidst the escalating protests, President Joe Biden has turned his attention to the situation. White House national security spokesman John Kirby highlighted this development during an appearance on ABC News on Sunday. Kirby emphasized that President Biden recognizes the depth of emotions many Americans harbor regarding the conflict in Gaza.

"He respects that and as he has said many times, we certainly respect the right of peaceful protest," Kirby said. "People should have the ability to air their views and to share their perspectives publicly, but it has to be peaceful. However, the President condemns antisemitism and hate speech."

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