Memories of the Dadri lynching returned to haunt India, after four Kashmiri students were beaten up by a mob following rumours that they had cooked beef in their hostel room. The incident reportedly took place on Monday, and the police had to intervene in order to defuse tempers.
The incident took place at the Mewar University in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh town, about 300 km south of state capital Jaipur. The varsity has a large Kashmiri student population, numbering close to 700-800. Locals alleged that many of these students used to cook beef in their hostel room, following which a Hindu mob gathered and raised slogans, while four of the students were also allegedly beaten up.
According to the Indian Express, the meat has been taken in for forensic testing, and it will soon be known if the meat being cooked was indeed beef. “Some mischief mongers spread rumours that the students were cooking beef. But, prima facie, it didn’t look like beef. We have sent it for forensic testing just to be sure,” said Prasanna Khamesara, Chittorgarh SP, adding that it was all a big misunderstanding and that things returned to normal before it could escalate.
Following the incident, the police arrived at the university and arrested the four students. The Times of India reported that the students were taken into custody and released later. “Protesters attempted to jam the highway for some time in the night before the police swung into action and dispersed the crowd,” Khamsera told the newspaper.
He added that news of the alleged beef eating spread like wildfire in the neighbouring towns and the area was panic stricken for the next couple of days. Protestors also burnt a meat shop situated on highway from where they alleged that beef was sold. Members of right-wing parties even called for a bandh, following which there was heavy security being deployed at the university and at sensitive places in and around the town.
The incident comes barely a month after the home ministry sent an advisory to state governments, asking them to collage profiles of students from Jammu and Kashmir.
NDTV reported that the advisory was sent out in February. “There is a perception among people of Jammu and Kashmir that their students are treated with suspicion and hostility at colleges,” it had said. Officials said that because families had complained about the students finding it tough to find housing in cities, they had asked states to ensure “students from Jammu and Kashmir are protected”.