IIT-Madras Student Attacked for Participating in Beef Festival

R. Sooraj was beaten up brutally by a group in the IIT-M campus after some students held a programme to discuss the Centre's ban on cattle slaughter.

R. Sooraj will need eye surgery after the attack. Credit: Facebook/Deb Chatterjee

Chennai/New Delhi: The beef controversy took an ugly turn on Tuesday, May 30, with a PhD scholar of IIT Madras being beaten up allegedly by some students protesting against the “beef fest” held in the campus on Sunday.

IIT authorities said that an inquiry would be conducted by the institute and appropriate action taken based on its outcome.

R. Sooraj, who is associated with the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, was allegedly assaulted by some students who claimed to be Sangh parivar supporters, according to the victim’s associates.

A student alleged that a group of students who owe allegiance to the “right wing ideology” surrounded Sooraj when he was having lunch in the mess and beat him up this afternoon.

He was taken to IIT-M dispensary and later to an eye hospital for his eye injury.

A picture of Sooraj being wheeled into a hospital with a visible injury on his right eye is doing the rounds in the social media as well.

The student also alleged that on the night of May 28 and the next day, two students – one after the other – who had taken part in the beef fest, were threatened by right wing elements and a complaint was made to the authorities.

A senior police official said a formal complaint was yet to be received but an inquiry was being held into the matter.

“We will register a case on receipt of a complaint,” the official told PTI.

A spokesperson for IIT Madras said, “There was an altercation between two students and both of them sustained injuries. Immediately appropriate medical attention was given.”

The spokesperson added, “An inquiry will be held by the institute and appropriate action will be taken based on its outcome.”

The Central Executive Committee of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) issued a statement on Wednesday, condemning the attack on IIT-Madras PhD scholar Sooraj.

According to the statement, the event had been organised at the IIT campus to register the solidarity of the students in the “nationwide agitation” against the ban. At the event, which comprised a peaceful discussion, the students proceeded to eat beef in an expression of their protest. However, according to the SFI, the participants of the protest were issued threats by “right-wing Hindutva forces on campus” soon after. The statement also blames a particular student, Manish Kumar Singh for Sooraj’s injury. The former had allegedly called up and issued warnings to several students before the programme.

The SFI statement goes on to declare that this is not an isolated incident but has been increasing in regularity. More and more people have been taking the law into their hands under the cover of cow protection, it says. Declaring this recent ban “another declaration of war on the democratic rights of the people”, the SFI demands brisk action from the IIT Madras administration and the expulsion of the students behind this attack. Moreover, it appeals for “all democratic and progressive sections” to stand together to protect the democratic spaces of education in the country.

(With PTI inputs)