Beef vs pork row: Osmania University says no to any festival, organisers say beef party is on

authorities have denied permission for either a beef festival or a pork festival on campus on December 10

A Saye Sekhar December 03, 2015 17:24:58 IST
Beef vs pork row: Osmania University says no to any festival, organisers say beef party is on

Hyderabad: The Osmania University authorities have denied permission for either a beef festival or a pork festival on campus on 10 December. However, organisers of the beef festival have decided to escalate matters by inviting leading politicians from different states to their event.

This comes after groups of students made plans for a 'beef festival' to be held on 10 December, another group came up with a proposal to hold a 'pork festival'. Raja Singh, BJP legislator from Goshamahal assembly constituency made remarks that he would not let such a festival happen.

The university’s press release said: “The primary objective of the university is purely academic and research oriented. It is, therefore, informed to all concerned including teachers, staff and staff of the university that activities such as ‘beef festival’, ‘go puja’ which are unrelated to academics and research will not be permitted on the campus.” It followed Deputy Chief Minister Mahmood Ali’s open disapproval of the idea of a beef festival on the campus of an educational institution.

Beef vs pork row Osmania University says no to any festival organisers say beef party is on

Osmania University, Representative Image. PTI

The organisers of the beef festival, mostly Left student bodies, seem in no mood to cancel it. They have announced that they would extend invites to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who had announced that he would eat beef resenting the Dadri incident, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and even the members of the families of the people killed for “allegedly for consuming beef”. This may include the family of the victim in the Dadri incident, though it is not yet clear.

The organisers, who secured a promise from a few groups that they would donate 500 kg of beef, raised Rs 2.50 lakh for the conduct of the festival and are making arrangements for it. Despite the ‘kill or get killed’ threat from BJP lawmaker Raja Singh, they are confident that the festival will go ahead without hitches.
On the pork festival, organising secretary of the beef festival K Shankar told Firstpost that they would support it and eat pork. They challenged the organisers of the pork festival to reciprocate their ‘gesture’.
On the trigger for the beef festival, Shankar said that it was proposed to be conducted on the World Human Rights Day with a view to protecting the rights of the citizens, which were “coming under siege’’.

Osmania University has a history of raising its voice against any injustice across the globe, including US aggression on Iran and Iraq, untouchability, atrocities against weaker sections, acid attacks on women, terrorist attacks, farmers’ suicides, corruption cases like 2G spectrum case, he said. “We feel universities have a responsibility, not only to impart academics, but even to react to social issues and provide right direction to the society on the privileges and responsibilities of people.”

The immediate trigger is the series of incidents of beef ban and attack on some sections for consuming beef. “After all, we are in a democratic society and anybody can eat what they want,” he said.

The beef festival was first conducted in 2012 on the Osmania campus. In fact, some students of University of Hyderabad began the practice to set up a stall for beef in its annual festival “sukoon” since 2006. Though it had resistance from the administration for two years, they relented since 2008. The beef festival organised by the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) in 2011 was attacked by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the ripples of the friction felt on the campus for a long time. Shankar said that Osmania University had 98 per cent of Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs, Minorities, Dalit Christians, and weaker sections. Beef was a natural (staple) food for most of them.

“When a large number of Brahmins gather and eat vegetarian food, we never question that. Festivals have significance. We light up lamps at homes every day, still we celebrate festivals. Similarly, Muslim brethren offer namaaz every day and still celebrate their festivals. Likewise, Christians go to church regularly and yet celebrate Christmas. So, though we eat beef regularly, we are celebrating the festival on Human Rights Day,” said Shankar.
This was not to provoke anybody, any party or religion. “Whereas, the pork festival was announced yesterday and the organisers are from the ABVP and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM). This is clearly diversionary tactic,” he pointed out.

The police, on their part, are collecting information on the whole episode and are gearing up to meet any challenge, according to a senior police official.

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