A PRELIMINARY probe has found “no evidence” to suggest that cow meat was served at Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) college canteen as was claimed by local BJP leaders led by the Aligarh Mayor Shakuntala Bharti.
“A police team, led by the station house officer of Civil Lines Police Station, visited Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College’s canteen immediately after receiving complaints by some right-wing organisations that beef was being served there. However, the team found no incriminating evidence whatsoever to suggest that any banned food item was being served in the canteen,” SSP K Ravindra Gaur said.
A controversy erupted after a picture was circulated on WhatsApp on Friday, allegedly showing a board displaying the menu at the medical college canteen, which included the item “beaf biryani”. The canteen is situated inside the medical college, and caters only to students.
Following the circulation of the picture in the city, AMU officials rushed to the canteen and had the board pulled down. They denied allegations that cow meat was being served, and said that only buffalo meat was used in the biryani.
The mayor, who belongs to the BJP, however, alleged the biryani contained cow meat, and that the menu board had separate entries mentioning biryani and beef biryani.
The BJP leaders had held a demonstration outside the office of the SSP, demanding registration of an FIR against the contractor of the medical college canteen. “There is not an iota of truth in the allegation. We never used prohibited meat,” Rahat Abrar, AMU PRO had said.
An university spokesman clarified that it was a common practice in India and abroad to refer to buffalo meat also as beef. “In fact, cow meat had been banned in this institution more than a century ago by its founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, keeping in view Hindu sensitivities on this matter,” he added.
On Sunday, AMU Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen (Rtd) Zameer Uddin Shah said he was “seriously concerned” over the entire episode and the fact the city mayor had taken up this issue with the police.
“I wish to point out that there is no truth whatsoever in the entire allegation that cow meat is being served anywhere at the AMU campus. This is entirely an attempt to whip up communal tension on a very lame excuse,” Shah said.
“We, at AMU, are deeply aware of the sentiments involved in such sensitive issues and there is no question of permitting anybody for violating the law on this matter,” he added.
According to the new guidelines, only generic words like ‘biryani’ or ‘korma’ will be used from now on, without mentioning the type of meat, on the menu board.