Protesters eat beef outside IIT-M to strike against attack on student

Chennai: A group of protestors challenged cow vigilantes by openly eating beef while protesting at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras on Wednesday against the attack on the institution’s research scholar who participated in the beef fest on the campus on Sunday.

Various students of Revolutionary Student Youth Front (RSYF), Students Federation of India (SFI), Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), and activists of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) protested near IIT-Madras gate against attack on an IIT Madras research scholar by some right-wing students for participating in beef fest.

Sooraj R, a PhD scholar and a member of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), was attacked on Tuesday by some students, who are reportedly affiliated with right-wing student bodies.

However, the police detained the protesters before they could enter the Campus.

While other student bodies raised slogans against Narendra Modi-led union government’s order and demanded the arrest of the students who allegedly attacked Sooraj, activists of the TPDK went a step ahead and openly ate beef during the protest.

A TPDK protestor told ANI that “Students wings affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have brutally beaten one of the students of this institution. We condemn this. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is indulging in terrorist acts and the attackers must be booked under Goonda Act.”

He added that ‘beef-eating’ was a way to put forward their demand.

“Eating beef is a tradition followed by Tamil people and nobody can change this. Therefore, we demand the revocation of Centre’s ruling on the sale of cattle ban.”

Other protestors alleged that the police were beating them mercilessly and also claimed that eating beef for Tamil people is similar to the tradition of drinking cow urine – considered to be pure by Hindutva followers.

“With regard to consumption of beef, as the union government headed by BJP believes in drinking urine, on the same lines, slaughtering a cow and eating beef is our tradition. We may eat beef or something else, who are these people to stop or question us?”

One of the RSYF placards read: “This is Jallikattu part 2: We will take the cow rakshaks by their horns”.

There have been protests in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states like Kerala and Karnataka against the Centre’s order.

According to the notification under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960 that gives the Centre powers over animal welfare, the committees overseeing animal markets will have to take an undertaking from traders that “animals are bought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter”.