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IIT Madras erupts on demand for action against assault at PhD scholar over beef fest

LiveMint logoLiveMint 31-05-2017 Dharani Thangavelu

Chennai: Protests erupted at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras) on Tuesday night as a group of students demanded action against those who allegedly assaulted a PhD scholar for taking part in a beef fest held on the campus on Sunday.

With police deployed in front of the IIT campus, students protested at the main gate and raised slogans against the centre’s controversial notification prohibiting the sale of cattle, including buffaloes, for slaughter at livestock markets.

Various student organisations, including the Democratic Youth Federation of India, have planned a protest at IIT Madras on Wednesday.

On Sunday, around 50 students took part in a beef fest as a mark of protest against the centre’s new rule. Later, R. Sooraj, a PhD student of aerospace engineering at the college, who took part in the beef fest was allegedly attacked by few students from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Sooraj, who is a member of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), was injured in his right eye and hospitalized. Manish Kumar Singh, a postgraduate student in ocean engineering and a member of the ABVP who had allegedly attacked Sooraj had fractured his right hand, reported the Times of India.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned the attack on Sooraj, “a Malayali PhD student”, for having participated in the beef fest. A Facebook post from the chief minister’s office said: “It is unfortunate that a young man’s eye has been thrashed for merely eating beef. Our constitution gives us the right to consume whatever food we like to. Intolerance towards it is in fact intolerance towards our constitution itself. Will request the chief minister of Tamil Nadu to take necessary action in this incident.”

Also read: Madras HC stays cow slaughter ban even as Centre re-examines rules

Earlier on Tuesday, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court granted a four-week stay on the central government’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter, while hearing a public interest litigation. Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have come together with a joint statement to condemn the centre and press the state government to register its protest against the rule.

“Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Puducherry and Tripura have rejected this notification, we urge the Tamil Nadu government to dissent over the centre’s decision,” the statement from the opposition parties in Tamil Nadu said.

Also read: Govt considers redefining cattle to exclude buffaloes as protests grow

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) would lead a demonstration in Chennai on Wednesday and the VCK will head the protests across the state on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Pinarayi Vijayan had also written to his counterparts in other states on the cattle slaughter rules, asking the central government to reject the restrictions and termed it as an “attempt to usurp the powers of state legislatures.”

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