Politics over beef found a new address as the Kerala House in Delhi took buffalo meat off its menu after a “raid” by 20 policemen over a complaint from a fringe group. Amid raging controversy after row over allegations that beef curry was served at Kerala House in Delhi, beef will be served in Kerala House from Wednesday noon, said sources on Tuesday.
After a day of protests against what many saw as bullying, Kerala House decided to bring back buffalo meat, sending a message that reinforced Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s strong words in a letter to the Prime Minister.
“I would like to inform you that the Kerala House staff canteen serves authentic vegetarian and non-vegetarian Kerala cuisine and the items in the menu are entirely within law,” Mr Chandy wrote to PM Narendra Modi, accusing the Delhi Police of overstepping its brief.
On Monday evening, the official guest house of Kerala in the capital swarmed with policemen after a call from activists of the Hindu Sena group, who had visited the canteen and noticed “beef fry” scribbled in Malayalam on a handwritten menu.
Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson has categorically denied that cow meat was served at Kerala House and said they will wait for “police action” in the wake of their complaint over the incident. “I totally deny that cow meat was served in canteen of Kerala House. Only buffalo meat is served,” Thomson said.
Chandy also called inquiries made by the Delhi Police into Kerala House’s beef procurement illegal and unlawful. Police officials had questioned Kerala House and canteen staff on where the meat was being sourced from.
“Kerala House is where all the ministers and government officials stay. Delhi Police should not have entered the premises. The raids were wrong. This is not a commercial establishment,” he said.
However, in the light of the events on Monday, Kerala House has temporarily taken buffalo meat off its menu. Noting that the Resident Commissioner of Kerala House has lodged a police complaint, Thomson further said “we will wait for police action”.
“I was told that some persons gate-crashed into Kerala House, the police had also entered. The resident commissioner has made a complaint to the DCP over their (gate-crashers’) entry. We will wait for the police’s action now,” he said.
A PCR call complaining about beef curry being served at Kerala House near Jantar Mantar had thrown police into a tizzy on Monday.
Police said that a team had to be sent there to avert any “untoward incident” after the call complaining about beef on the menu was received by police control room at around 4:15 PM on Monday. The caller had claimed to be from a fringe right-wing group.
“The policemen took no chance and the input was immediately passed on to Parliament Street police station, from where a team was sent to Kerala House to deal with any potential violence,” a police official had said.