Police foil 'beef fest' bid at OU; organisers claim success

Police foil 'beef fest' bid at OU; organisers claim success

Police today said they foiled a student group's attempt to hold a 'beef festival' on the Osmania University (OU) campus here even as organisers claimed that students "celebrated" the event inside their hostel rooms.

In order to stop the 'festival' from taking place, police also detained some of its key organisers and arrested BJP MLA from Goshamahal here, T Raja Singh, who was in the forefront opposing the event.

A 'curfew-like' situation prevailed at the university with heavy police security being deployed to prevent any untoward incident in view of a student group's plan to hold a 'beef festival' at the university. There was a mild tension in and around the OU as police rounded up over 100 persons who came in different groups and tried to barge into the campus either opposing or supporting the festival.

A students' group had declared that it would hold a 'beef festival' on the campus today, coinciding with the World Human Rights Day, while another group also announced its plan to organise a 'pork festival' the same day, which had raised the possibility of confrontation.

Talking to PTI, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East Zone), A Ravinder said "we successfully stopped them from organising the festival on the campus. We have taken a few people into custody. They will be released soon."

When contacted, Shankar, one of the organisers, said all the students "celebrated" the festival in their hostel rooms as the police did not allow them to come out. "You (media) should tell whether the event was successfully held or not," Shankar said.

Some pictures showing the students eating beef were circulated in social media but it was not immediately known whether they consumed beef today.

"Last night, we detained eight key members of the group which announced the beef festival today. As per the court order, decided not to allow any festival on the Osmania University campus," a police official said.

Assistant Commissioner of Police K Ram Bhupal Rao earlier today said they took Raja Singh into custody as a preventive measure to maintain law and order.

The legislator had vowed to stop the 'beef festival' and also announced that he, along with other groups, would perform "gau puja" (cow worship) today.

On the university premises, police imposed restrictions on the movement of people and vehicles. Barricades were put up at all the vantage points of the institution and heavy police security was mounted.

Police did not allow even regular morning walkers in the university this morning. Students were allowed inside the campus after verification of their identity cards as examinations are underway for some courses.

Unidentified persons pelted stones at a couple of buses outside the university damaging their windshields.

OU, one of the oldest educational institutions of higher learning in the country, had already clarified that activities unrelated to academics, including 'beef festival', 'pork festival' and 'gau-puja' would not be permitted on the campus.

OU officials also warned that admission of students "violating" law would be cancelled and action initiated against them.

Meanwhile, Swami Paripoornanda Saraswati, along with his followers, performed "gau-Puja" at a 'Gosala' near Lower Tank Bund, around five kms from OU.

A city civil court had passed the status quo order on the 'beef festival' three days back, which amounts to staying the holding of the festivals, on a petition filed by an advocate. The petition contended that these events are in violation of Cruelty Towards Animal Act and Cow Slaughter Act and hurt the religious sentiments of the people.

The high court had yesterday upheld the order of the city civil court.

Large scale violence had taken place when a beef festival was organised on the campus by a section of students in 2011, 2012 and 2014, said the petition.

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