HYDERABAD: The 'Beef Festival' triggered violent protests on the Osmania University campus on Sunday evening, resulting in injuries to five students and protesters setting two vehicles on fire.
Akhil Bharathiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists tried to disrupt the festival, organised by Dalit student organisations and supported by Left groups, in front of Narmada Research Scholars (NRS) Hostel on the campus, but police foiled their attempt.
The 'Beef Festival' was announced last month by the Telangana Student Association, Progressive Democratic Student Union and Student Federation of India along with student groups from English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU). In a similar incident last year, ABVP students had staged a protest on Eflu campus.
At around 6.45 pm, even as the festival, where beef biryani was served to a group of over 200 supporters, was being wound up, about 50 student protesters shouting slogans tried to march towards the venue and started pelting stones. In the violence that continued till late in the night, two vehicles, including a media van, were torched by the angry protesters and five students of the organising committee suffered injuries.
Dalit students groups of OU supported by some senior faculty and city-based academics had organised the festival to celebrate the Dalit food culture, which includes eating beef. The festival was attended by senior faculty and academics like S Simhadri, Gali Vinod Kumar, Bhangya Bhukya, P L Visweswara Rao, Gogu Shyamala and G Aloysius, who were caught up in the violence. Anticipating trouble, police and paramilitary forces were stationed on the campus from morning itself and all entry/exit points were sealed to prevent outsiders from entering it.
Trouble started when ABVP activists marched from B Hostel to NRS demanding police arrest and remove the festival organisers. As the mob was stopped 30 metres from the venue, they started pelting stones. Though police could restrain the mob for about 30 minutes, the cordon was broken and several students started pelting stones at the NRS hostel.