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Osmania Beef Festival Opposed


Right-wing Hindu groups sought an official ban on the ‘Beef Festival’ scheduled to be held on December 10 by Left wing and Dalit organizations of Osmania University, Hyderabad. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti on Friday registered its protest with Hyderabad District Collector and urged collector K Nirmala to intervene and protect the University atmosphere from being polluted by some student groups.

It has become a tradition for assertive Dalit organizations and Left wing student association in Hyderabad to organize Beef Festival as response to the imposition of rightist anti-beef culture. Though the cultural event began in University of Hyderabad, Osmania University has been carrying it forward. This year All India Students Federation (AISF), Progressive Democratic Students Union (PDSU), Students Federation of India (SFI), Bahujan Students Federation (BSF) and some faculty members joined hands to organize the Beef Festival on December 10, normally observed as ‘Human Rights Day’. According to organizers, the December 10 has been chosen to uphold the food rights of the people. The organizers have also invited noted writer and activist Arundhati Roy, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, former MP and noted Dalit activist from Tamil Nadu Thol Tirumavalavan to participate in the event.

Criticizing the organizers for attempting to vitiate the academic atmosphere on the campus, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti demanded action against the student groups responsible for the Beef Festival.
“We condemn the so called Beef Festival. Consuming and serving beef on the campus hurts religious sentiments of Hindu community. This type of festivals go against the established university traditions. Educational institutes are like temples and students should help maintain the sanctity of the place,” said Chandra Moger, Samiti’s coordinator.

The organization alleged that some miscreants and anti-social elements among the University students were willfully organizing this Beef Festival only to foment trouble on the campus. Recalling the 2012 Beef Festival which led to the violence causing injuries to scores of students, the organization urged the collector and University authorities to ban the festival to prevent recurrence of violence on the campus.

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Beef Festival planned on OU campus


In an act defiance, dalit and left wing student organizations of Osmania university have planned a beef festival on December 10. They are not worried about the heat the beef generated in India, because, beef is food stuff and needed for survival. Banning the beef-eating, they say, is robbing them of their right to live. In the run up to the festival, on November 30, a poets’ meet has been planned. Students and scholars from different universities across the country are expected to participate in the meet. A marathon is also planned to create awareness of beef eating.

A round table with representatives of all political parties will be held on December 5. They students have a plan to invite RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah to participate in the festival. It is not known, given tension the beef engendered after Dadri incident, if the authorities would allow the festival to be held on campus.

Dalit groups and left wing students have been organizing the beef festival for quite some time in Hyderabad. The first ever beef festival organized in Osmania in 2012 led to violence on the campus resulting in the stabbing of a student. Five students injured in the clash that ensued. Many private vehicles also got damaged. Scores of students had been taken into custody. undeterred by these incidents and possible retaliation by ABVP, the dalit and left wing students have made it a practice to celebrate beef as food every year. This year the festival is scheduled on December 10,2015.

Beef on the campus has history in Hyderabad. A year before, in 2011, some dalit students organized a beef festival on campus of English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), adjacent to the Osmania, which also ended up in a clash. Sangh Parivar’s ABVP stormed into the festival, destroyed the food items and attacked the organizers. Many students sustained injuries in the clash.

The inspiration for the EFLU’s Beef Festival was the similar festival organized on campus of Hyderabad Central University (HCU). CH Sateesh, a student Sociology department of HCU told telugu360.com that HCU students waged a three-year long battle for permission to celebrate the beef festival. And finally, it was held amid tight security.

Large presence dalit students in these central universities emboldened these students to break the restrictions on the food they had been living on. Later, this caught up on the campus of Osmania as well. Students of OU have floated the a forum called ‘save democracy’ to defend the democratic rights of students. RN Shankar of All India Students Federation, a CPI affiliated students wing, said their festival was not political move.” This is an attempt to sensitize the people on the need to resist the imposition of restriction on the food habits of various groups of people. Food is a cultural choice. And people have the right to follow their cultural traditions,” he said.

Student leaders cautioned that the “beef festival” should not be mistaken as a merry making event or a carnival.

“Beef is part of our natural food and we condemn Hindutva forces dividing the country on the basis of food habits. Any child will say attacks on beef eaters have risen manifold since Narendra Modi has come to power. We are uniting to resist these attacks,” added Vishnu of the Progressive Democratic Students Union(PDSU).

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.



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