Dalit students’ assertion of the right to eat beef — a tradition in Andhra Pradesh — triggered a riot with the right wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists at Osmania University in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Even after the overnight clash that left five persons injured and two vehicles torched was brought under control, the campus — a hotbed of the Telangana statehood movement — remained tense on Monday.
The Praswamya Samskrutika Vedika, an umbrella organisation of Dalit groups supported by the Left parties, organised a beef festival on Sunday, at the Narmada Research Scholars Hostel and nearly 200 people, including half-a-dozen professors, attended the event.
Research scholar and festival organiser B Sudarshan said, “We can’t allow others to look down on our food habits or our culture.”
PL Visweswar Rao, head of the department of communications at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, who attended the festival, said students had the right to seek a particular food.
The organisers initially planned to cook beef on the hostel campus because for years, Dalit students had been unsuccessfully demanding that beef be included in the hostel menu.
But the police persuaded them to get beef biryani from outside. Last year, ABVP prevented some students of the English and Foreign Languages University from organising a beef festival on their campus, which is adjacent to the Osmania campus.