The row started with students being outraged after the panel allegedly attacked meat-eaters, using derogatory phrases like ‘they deserve to be beaten up’ and ‘them and their families will get cancer’.
Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), in collaboration with their National Service Scheme (NSS), had organized a seminar V4V (Valentine’s for the Voiceless), which led to a feeling of collective anger amongst the students because the talk was allegedly against the meat eating cultural minorities – the Muslims and the Dalits.
The panel consisted of Ambika Shukla, Director, Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, Devika Srimal Bapna, founder Kanabis- a PETA approved vegan footwear for women, and Divya Parthasarthy, founder, Tails of Compassion, shelter home for animals. The event was to be centered around the theme ‘Culture and Cruelty’.
Post the event, some students of LSR exhibited their strong displeasure as Shukla used words like ‘thrashing up’ and ‘bashing’ to describe what should be done to people who ferry cows and cattle for slaughter. According to the student(s), Shukla said, to quote, “How fashionable it is for media to report on Muslim and Dalit lynching, with respect to the beef ban, but no one talks about the gau-rakshaks giving up their lives for cows.” The debate ostensibly morphed into a karmic issue wherein Shukla said, “unko cancer hoga, unki family mai cancer phailega’”(they will have cancer, which will spread to their families as well) while talking about the non-vegetarians.
“I have never felt so attacked, offended and unsafe at my own college’s event,” was a student’s concern, who wished to remain anonymous. “It is an absolutely flawed understanding of more complex and layered issues,” said another.
There is also the concern of this issue not being taken as gravely as it should. “Either they (the people who are hushing-up the incident) are from NSS, and are insecure about their reputation, or they are really ignorant and fail to see how meat eating is a choice influenced by various demographics,” was a student’s take on the matter. “They might also be scared, considering what the present admin’s attitude is towards dissent.”
The NSS’s side of the story is quite contradictory wherein the say that the way tthe opinion was voiced was hurtful and disrespectful, and they have asked the students of the University of Delhi and outside to ignore the post. They said that the panelists have been misquoted, and the talk hasn’t been represented in a rational and factual manner.
‘On the bright side, I am glad the panel achieved what it sought to achieve,’ read a text from a volunteer. ‘It made people aware of the cruelty towards animals, and induced thinking.’
When the issue of the NSS’s image being maligned came up, they said that they did not, in fact, control what the panelists go on to say. The post has been reduced to a ‘hate message’ by the organisers.
‘Overall, the session reeked of privilege, both caste and class. They discarded food choices as an idea altogether,’ read a text that was circulated soon after. “It is just that a lot of us really felt insecure listening to a person justifying lynching people in the name of protecting a cow. And making this a white versus black debate portraying non-vegetarians as essentially bad is disrespecting the freedom to choose that all of us have,” an LSR student said.
NSS Union and concerned authorities have not released an official statement as of yet. The report will be updated once the Union comments.
What really happened is still in a shaded area because it was not reported by an external organisation, and there, still, seems to exist a dispute between the parties.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat