Beef festival plan splits JNU students

A section of Jawaharlal Nehru University students have announced a ‘beef-eating festival’ on the campus, triggering opposition from the BJP and its student wing.

University authorities have said the festival, slated for September 28, will not be allowed on the campus, but a member of New Materialists – the group behind the idea – insists it will take place. It would be “an assertion to retain food rights in a multicultural country.” the group says.

“The right wing forces in the country have always given a 'vegetarian impression' when it comes to the country's food culture. This festival is in a way to challenge the Bramanical idea of  what kind of food to be consumed. There is a section of people who are used to eating beef and pork, it is a part of their culture,” said Premjish, member of New Materialists.

While the Left-leaning student groups see the festival as a ‘celebration’ of the individual’s right to eat ‘taboo food’ without shame or fear, the right-wing student unions, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), has warned of repercussions if the festival is allowed. The BJP, ABVP’s political parent, on Monday demanded immediate arrest of students involved in the campaign.

“There is an open attempt and announcement to organise a beef party in JNU and preparations are being made to serve beef openly in the campus. The police and government are not bothered,” said V K Malhotra, asking Muslim leaders to come forward against the cow-slaughter.

As per the Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act, there is a provision for five years of imprisonment and Rs.10,000 as fine for storing or serving beef.

According to New Materialists members, one of the JNU canteens in the 1990's used to serve beef on Saturdays, but it was shut down after the BJP came into power.
Vice Chancellor S K Sopory, on Monday stated the festival will not be allowed on the campus, citing the ban in Delhi on cow slaughter.

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