AN OXFORD University college has apologised for serving Haribo sweets at a dinner celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali – even though they contained beef.

Upset Hindus shared their fury over the incident and urged Christ Church – one of the university’s largest colleges – to conduct a sensitivity training for senior executives after the incident.

For Hindus eating beef is a taboo as cows are considered a sacred symbol of life that should be protected.

Christ Church admitted that the wrong candies were served and that the list of ingredients were not 'properly scrutinised'.

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While Haribo does sell halal or beef-free sweets, students were given candies containing the animal-derived gelatin.

A spokesperson for the college commented: “Diwali celebrations at Christ Church are, in normal times, organised in conjunction with the students, but the usual arrangements were not in place this year because of the pandemic.

“As soon as the college became aware of this, Diwali dinners were scheduled for all students.

“Unfortunately, the wrong sweets were provided at the first dinner as the ingredient list had not been properly scrutinised.

“We are sorry for any upset this may have caused.

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“Christ Church is committed to supporting all its students, and appreciates their understanding during the current difficult and unprecedented situation.”

Diwali, which usually lasts five days, is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism.

In Oxford, hundreds of Hindus celebrate the Festival of Light every year and a number of worshippers gather at the Sandhills Community hall to offer their prayers and respects.

The incident even reached the ears of the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism Rajan Zed, who is based in Nevada, America.

Mr Zed said that the mishap should not be taken lightly.

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The president commented: "Christ Church College needs to grow up, educate itself and show more maturity and sensitivity to the feelings of its minority populations.

"Oxford University should urgently send its senior executives for cultural and religious sensitivity training.

"It was shocking and deeply hurtful for the Hindu community to visualize its students being reportedly served with beef-laced fruit gum candies Haribo Goldbears."

Mr Zed also sought a formal apology from chancellor Christopher Francis Patten and vice-chancellor Louise Richardson, and Christ Church dean Martyn Percy for this 'blatant insensitivity' towards Hindu students.