Adding to the ongoing controversy surrounding the 'beef festival' planned by the students of Osmania University in Hyderabad, a lower court in the city on Monday ordered a stay on the event.
The Times of India reported that 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.
The police also deployed many personnel across the campus and foiled a 5-km rally planned by the students in support of the festival, which they plan to hold on December 10.
Many students were arrested and sent to different police stations. Shouting slogans against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government, students protested against the arrests.
âWe took 30 students into preventive custody this morning as they tried to hold a run and later released them. It has been made clear by the university authorities already that these food festivals have no permission. We are geared up to ensure order on the campus on Thursday,â Ashok Reddy, station house officer of the Osmania University police station told Hindustan Times.
The entire issue started on November 21, when a section of students announced that they would host a âBeef festivalâ on the university campus on December 10, World Human Rights Day â 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 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 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.
âHaving food of our choice is a fundamental right. Neither the government nor the police has any right to stall the festival which relates to sentiments of several students," a student told TOI.
The students now plan to approach the high court to vacate the stay.