On the day a number of protests and counter-protests were to be organized at Osmania University, police have turned the campus into a fortress into which no outsiders, including journalists are being allowed. Several students were picked up on Wednesday night and detained by the police.
On Thursday morning, the campus was like a fortress, with several police personnel in riot gear, armed with lathis and tear gas too on standby.
The entire wall of the campus saw a policeman stationed every few metres as barbed wire and large barricades were placed at every entrance and exit of the varsity.
A policeman who refused to be identified told The News Minute, “The entire campus has been cordoned off and besides restricting access to outsiders, we are also conducting checks to ensure that no beef is smuggled in. We have been told only to use lathicharge if the situation gets out of control.”
P L Vishweshwar Rao, former principal OU Arts College and a spokesperson for AAP who said that he had a right to speak was put into a lorry and whisked away from the campus gate.
Many activists with Gau Rakshak Samithi and other right-wing groups including the Shiv Sena raised slogans of ‘Jai Gau Mata’ and 'Jai Shri Ram' and were also taken away by the police.
(A Shiv Sena activist being detained)
A few activists of left parties who shouted slogans supporting the festival were also arrested.
Reports also suggest that a few photos also started doing the rounds where organisers of the ‘beef festival’ confined the event to their hostel rooms where they ate beef and circulated them on Whatsapp. Police are tracing the origin of these pictures.
A reporter with The Hindu was also detained by the police on Thursday afternoon.
A group of students had announced some time ago that they would organize a beef festival in the university campus on International Human Rights Day, December 10. Organizers had made it clear that what would be served was buffalo meat and not cow meat.
Several protests and rallied both in support of and against the beef fest were subsequently announced, with even political parties jumping into the fray. A Hyderabad court had ordered a stay on the beef fest on Monday.
On Wednesday night, several students, mostly organizers of the festival, were picked up by the police. When The News Minute attempted to contact them, none of them answered the phone.
Some of those detained, are political leaders. Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) leader Amjedullah Khan was picked up by Dabeerpura police on Thursday but was detained in the Mogulpura police station.
(Image by arrangement)
BJP MLA Raja Singh, who had threatened that he would kill to protect the cow, was first placed under house arrest and was later shifted to the Goshamahal ACP office.