A student of Osmania University here was stabbed for supporting a beef festival organised by several student groups opposing “food fascism” in hostels, police said on Monday. The festival witnessed clashes in which five students were injured and some vehicles being burnt.
The situation in the university was tense as violence continued on the campus past midnight on Sunday with a group of students attacking the ‘C' hostel and stabbing a student for supporting the festival. Police said the injured student was admitted to Gandhi Hospital here.
Protestors set fire to a bus of State-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC).
The clashes broke out after some Dalit and left-wing student groups organised the festival to highlight their demand for including beef in the hostel menu. Over 200 students and some professors attended the festival partaking various dishes made of beef.
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists staged a protest against the festival and clashed with the organisers. They attacked each other with stones and sticks. Five students were injured in the clashes. Two vehicles were also set on fire.
Police used teargas shells and batons to disperse the groups. The campus, which witnessed many violent protests over separate Telangana state during last two years, turned into a battlefield.
The beef festival was organised by the Telangana Students Association, the Progressive Democratic Student Union, the Student Federation of India and student groups from English and Foreign Languages University.
The organisers claimed that beef was part of their cultural identity and an affordable source of nutrition. They said the festival was to oppose ‘food fascism' in university hostels.
Supporting the demand, P.L. Visweswara Rao, former professor of communication and journalism at the university, said students had a right to seek a particular food. He alleged that the police and the university administration failed to protect the students participating in the festival. The ABVP, which opposed the festival, called for university shutdown on Monday.
Police have sealed all the routes leading to the university and deployed additional police and paramilitary forces on the campus to prevent further clashes.