Tension prevailed at Osmania University on Thursday as police sealed the campus to prevent beef festival planned by some student groups and the pork festival and cow worship by their rivals.
Police arrested Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Raja Singh and dozens of students and activists of different groups to prevent any untoward incident.
Raja Singh was taken into preventive custody from his house in Dhoolpet area in the morning as he planned to join ‘Gau Maata puja’ planned by some right-wing Hindu groups on the campus.
Women activists of Gau Raksha Dal were also arrested when they tried to enter the campus.
Police in riot gear sealed all the entrances to the sprawling campus to foil attempts by any group to organize any program. Several students were picked up during the searches conducted in and around the campus since Wednesday night.
The campus was out of bounds for outsiders as the university authorities and police have refused to give permission to conduct any festival. The security measures were further tightened after City Civil Court declined to give permission for beef festival. The lower court’s orders were upheld by Hyderabad High Court on Wednesday.
Some leftist and Dalit students’ organizations, however, had declared that they will go ahead with the beef festival on Human Rights Day to uphold food right as one among the human rights.
Right-wing Hindu groups had threatened to stop the festival at any cost. Some of them had called for a pork festival and also ‘Gau Maata Puja’ to counter it.
Meanwhile, a Hindu religious leader along with some BJP leaders and his followers participated in ‘Gau Raksha Diwas’ at Lower Tank Bund, some five km from the university.
Swami Paripoornanda Saraswati condemned the attempts to hold beef festival. He said this would hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus as cow is considered sacred.