Despite a stay order from a Hyderabad court on the proposed beef and pork festivals slated for December 10, students at Osmania University on Tuesday held a 'trailer' and consumed beef biryani and kebabs a day before the main event.
Policemen watched closely on Tuesday, as the students opened packets of beef items and distributed it among those present.
The city civil court, ordered a status quo on campus - which from Monday morning had turned into a virtual battlefield with police rounding up students who were holding a rally in support of the event. The judge said organizing such festivals on campus was unlawful and offends the provisions of the Prevention of Cow Slaughtering Act as well as the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Many students were also arrested on Monday and shifted to various police stations across the city ahead of the fest.
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 issue escalated several notches after a BJP MLA Raja Singh 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 also 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.
The organisers are now planning to move the Hyderabad High Court on Wednesday seeking to cancel the lower court's order.
The Times of India reported that the students, calling it a "food of minorities", said they would appeal under the SC and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 too “Everything will go as per our plans. We have enough support from a lot of political parties to run the show," Musavir Ali, a supporter of the beef festival said.
"We respect the civil court's order, but we plan to conduct the festival without disrupting the students' academic sessions and the administrative work," Srinivas Solanki, an organizer of the pork festival told TOI.
Meanwhile, the Osmania University Teachers Association (OUTA) president Battu Satyanarayana told the newspaper that "The university doesn't need such festivities as it only hampers academics. Students must focus on studies. But students are losing focus given the condition on campus."