It appears that four students of Rajasthan’s Mewar University, who were thrashed by a mob over suspicions of having consumed beef, might have been innocent all along.
The students, who are part of a large Kashmiri contingent at the university at Chittorgarh, were beaten up on Monday night, evoking memories of Dadri where a man was lynched last year following rumours that he had eaten beef.
However, samples collected from the students’ hostel room were laboratory tested, and it appears that it wasn’t beef. “Initial results have indicated that it wasn’t beef. However, we will be sending the samples to the Forensic Science Laboratory,” Labhu Ram, station house officer of the Gangrar police station, told The Hindu newspaper.
The incident took place at the Chittorgarh, located about 300 km south of state capital Jaipur. The university is home to a large Kashmiri student population, numbering about 700-800. Locals have long been alleging that these students cook and eat beef in their hostel rooms, which are, as per rules, completely vegetarian. On Monday night, a large Hindu mob gathered outside the hostel and thrashed the four students. Police had to intervene and collect meat samples, which were later sent to the laboratory.
Chittorgarh SP Prasanna Khamesara said the news spread like wildfire in the area and the entire town was panic-stricken for a few 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.
However, Harish Gurnani, media liaison officer for the university, played down the incident, saying it was an internal feud between two sets of students. “It was an internal matter between students,” Gurnani told NDTV. “Sometimes, these small fights happen because people are from different socio-cultural backgrounds.”