Dozens of policemen are being deployed in and around the Osmania University campus in Hyderabad to prevent students from organising a beef festival on December 10.
This comes a day after student bodies organizing the beef festival approached the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Thursday seeking protection from BJP MLA Raja Singh, who has threatened to ‘kill or get killed’ to stop the event.
The Osmania University administration has dictated that none of the events have permission as they are not ‘academic’ in nature and has assured full cooperation to the police.
The Hyderabad police, fearing trouble, have said that the campus will be out of bounds for outsiders on December 10 and the festival would not be allowed.
“In order to maintain peace and tranquility in the campus, it has been decided not to permit celebration of any festivities on campus by any student group. The members of the student community and others are requested to cooperate in this regard. All possible measures shall be taken at the Os mania University campus,” deputy commissioner of police (East Zone) A Ravinder told the Times of India.
However, they remain adamant as one organizer told the newspaper “They may try every trick in the book, but we will cook beef inside the campus. The festival will go on.”
The entire issue started on November 21, when a section of students announced that they would host a ‘Beef festival’ on the university campus on December 10, World Human Rights Day – to uphold the right to food as one of the human rights. The students made it clear that only buffalo and bullock meat would be served at the festival.
The whole issue escalated several notches after the BJP MLA told a news channel that “No one should hurt religious sentiments and we have every right to stop it. I want to tell the organizers that Dadri should not repeat in Telangana and we are ready for it. We are ready to kill or get killed to protect the cow.”
Another ‘pork festival’ has popped up in response to the beef festival on the same day.
The ruling TRS government, sensing that the issue could get out of hand, has also stepped in and asked pro-Telangana student organizations to persuade leftist student organizations not to go ahead with their plan of holding the festival.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has shot off a letter to OU in-charge VC Ranjeev R Acharya claiming that December 10 was not just International Human Rights Day but also International Animal Rights Day.
Claiming that the “students’ desire to hold a festival essentially celebrating the torture and death of once living, thinking, feeling beings therefore runs counter to their claims of caring deeply about respect for differences and personal choices and concern for minority communities,” Poorva Joshipura, CEO, PETA India suggested the use of a plant-based faux beef.
“Using mock meat instead of the flesh of animals who had valued their lives just as much as you or I do would teach students a valuable lesson: that when everyone who is affected by a decision does not enjoy the same freedom from harm, it is no longer a simple matter of personal choice. Like any victim of a person who chooses to murder, animals in the meat industry are victims of cruelty,” Poorva added.