Dozens arrested, beef festival at Osmania varsity foiled 

Hyderabad, Dec 10 (IANS) Tension prevailed at Osmania University on Thursday as police arrested dozens of students and activists of various groups to prevent a beef festival planned by some students and a pork festival and cow worship by their rivals.

While police sealed the university campus and arrested protesters, some organisers of the beef festival posted pictures and videos on social media, claiming that they succeeded in organising it.

Police, which threw a thick security blanket around the campus, arrested student leaders, workers of Bajrang Dal, Gau Raksha Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to foil all three programmes.

The protesters for and against the beef festival were taken into custody.

P.L. Visweswara Rao, a former professor of Osmania University, and others who had reached the campus in support of the beef festival were also arrested.

Some unidentified people pelted stones at a bus of the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) near the university, damaging window panes. However, nobody was injured.

Earlier, police arrested BJP legislator Raja Singh and dozens of students and activists of various groups to prevent any untoward incident.

Raja Singh was taken into preventive custody from his house in Dhoolpet area in the morning as he planned to join the ‘Gau Maata puja’ (cow worship) planned by some right-wing Hindu groups on the campus.

Women activists of the Gau Raksha Dal were also arrested when they tried to enter the campus.

Police in riot gear sealed all entrances to the sprawling campus to foil attempts by any group to organise any programme.

Many students were picked up during searches conducted in and around the campus since Wednesday night.

The campus was out of bounds for outsiders as the university authorities and police have refused to give permission to conduct any festival.

The security measures were further tightened after the City Civil Court declined to give permission for the beef festival.

The lower court’s orders were upheld by the Hyderabad High Court on Wednesday.

Some Leftist and Dalit students’ organisations, however, had declared that they will go ahead with the beef festival on Human Rights Day to uphold ‘food right’ as one among the human rights.

Right-wing Hindu groups had threatened to stop the festival at any cost. Some of them had called for a pork festival and also ‘Gau Maata Puja’ to counter it.

Meanwhile, a Hindu religious leader along with some BJP leaders and his followers participated in ‘Gau Raksha Diwas’ at Lower Tank Bund, some 5 km from the university.

Swami Paripoornanda Saraswati condemned the attempts to hold the beef festival.

He said this would hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus as cow is considered sacred.

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