Beef fest turns Osmania varsity into battlefield
Groups of students clashed on campus until past midnight over the festival organised to demand for beef in the hostel menu; 1 stabbed, 5 injured
A student of the Osmania University was stabbed for supporting a beef festival organised by several student groups opposing “food fascism” in hostels, police said yesterday. The beef festival saw clashes in which five students were injured. It also led to vehicles being burnt. The situation in the university was tense as violence continued in the campus past midnight with a group of students attacking the ‘C’ hostel and stabbing a student for backing the festival. Police said the injured student was admitted to Gandhi Hospital.
The clashes broke out on Sunday night after some Dalit and left-wing student groups organised the festival on the campus to highlight their demand for including beef in the mess menu. Over 200 students and some professors attended the festival and ate various beef dishes.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists staged a protest against the festival and clashed with the organisers. The two groups attacked each other with stones and sticks. Five students were injured in the clashes. Two vehicles, along with a bus of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, were set afire. Police used teargas shells and batons to disperse the clashing groups. The campus, which witnessed many violent protests over a separate Telangana state in the last two years, turned into a battlefield.
The festival was organised by the Telangana Students Association, Progressive Democratic Student Union, Student Federation of India and student groups from English and Foreign Languages University. The organisers claimed that beef is a part of their cultural identity and an affordable source of nutrition. They said the festival was to oppose ‘food fascism’ in university hostels.
Supporting the demand, PL Visweswara Rao, former professor of communication and journalism at the university, said students have a right to seek a particular food. He alleged that the police and the university administration failed to protect the students’ participating in the festival.
All under control
Police have sealed all the routes leading to the university and deployed additional police and paramilitary forces on the campus to prevent further clashes.