A beef festival organized by Dalit students at Osmania University in Hyderabad, India on April 15th erupted into violence, the BBC reports. About 100 members of the Hindu right wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) protested the festival, leading to five injuries according to The Hindu report.
ABVP protested the beef festival on the ground that consumption of beef is against Hindu culture. Ramkrishna, senior ABVP leader told BBC, “Today they are asking for beef, tomorrow they will want alcohol.”
The purpose of the festival was to oppose “food fascism” in university hostels, reports NDTV. The festival organizers demanded beef be included in the university canteen menu as it is part of their “cultural identity.”
“The festival was intended to make the point that upper caste diktats over food habits need to be resisted, however another group of students opposed the idea on the grounds that it is against Indian culture,” a police official said in a quote reported by the NDTV.
More than 1500 students attended the beef festival and consumed various dishes made of beef according to the BBC report.
The beef festival was organized by the Telangana Students Association, Progressive Democratic Student Union, Student Federation of India and student groups from English and Foreign Languages University.
S. Satyanarayana, Osmania University vice-chancellor announced yesterday that there would be no change in the hostel menu, reports NewsWala.
Despite the violence, the organizers of the beef festival were generally pleased with the large turnout and aim to make this an annual event, reports Deccan Chronicle.
The incident sparked a lot of conversation on Twitter. Below are tweets by activists, politicians and journalists: