By UCA News
Dalit students from Osmania University in Andhra Pradesh said that they would continue to hold “beef festivals” following a violent confrontation this week that left six people injured.
The April 15 festival was held to protest what the students called “food fascism” in student housing, where beef is not served because cows are considered sacred animals by most Hindus.
One student was stabbed and five others sustained minor injuries during clashes that broke out at the university when fellow students opposing the festival tried to stop students and some professors from eating beef.
P Ashok, an inspector with the university police force, said six cases had been registered against participants in the violence – three general cases against mob violence and three cases against groups and individual students.
A charge of attempted murder was filed against seven students, while two others were filed against student members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP), which is affiliated with the Hindu nationalist Indian People’s Party.
P Rama Rao, a student member of the ABVP, was stabbed in the early morning of April 15 in the abdomen and left shoulder, allegedly by fellow students from the university’s C Hostel following an argument over the festival, police said.
A similar beef festival organized last year at the English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad was disrupted by ABVP members who stormed the kitchen and threw away the cooked beef.
Mohan Dharavath, a dalit student leader from EFLU, said the festivals were held to emphasize students’ right to follow their own dietary practices.
“We are well within our constitutional rights to practice our food habits. I don’t see why we cannot hold beef festivals to express our cultural identity.”
S Satyanarayana, vice chancellor of Osmania university, told ABVP members that the school had not given students permission to hold the festival.
The consumption of beef is not illegal in India, though the slaughter of cattle is banned in all but two states.
Source: UCAN India