Parliamentarians from Kerala on Tuesday protested the “beef raid” at the Kerala House in New Delhi and demanded the dish be brought back on the menu of the canteen.
“This is an infringement on the rights of the people of Kerala. This is a property of people and government of Kerala. We condemn this police action,” said A. Sampath, who represents Attingal constituency.
“If the buffalo meat served here is lawfully purchased from the local vendors then why should anyone prevent us from cooking and eating that?” he asked.
“This is all a part of Sangh Parivar agenda. This is an attempt to stoke communal tension. They will not succeed in imposing these things (restrictions) in Kerala since they don’t have any foothold there,” he added.
Another Lok Sabha MP P.K. Sreemathi said: “This is an attack on federalism. What people eat is their right. No one has the right to tell what they can eat and cannot eat.”
“This is a very serious issue. This is Kerala House. It is not the property of the central government. The centre should apologize,” she said.
Among the others who joined the protest were senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders C. P. Narayan and P. Vijayan.
“Buffalo meat is not prohibited, so levelling such allegations is uncalled for. The police are behaving like a mob,” said Narayanan, who is also an MP.
Delhi Police had claimed that they visited Kerala House only to prevent any tension or untoward incident.
Refuting police’s claim, Vijayan, who is a CPI-M politburo member too, said: “If police came to prevent any untoward incident, then they should have stayed. Why did they leave? Their intention was not good. It is an attack on the federal structure.”
“This is an official canteen of Kerala House. They (Police) have to seek permission before conducting an inquiry at Kerala House,” he added.
A Delhi Police team visited Kerala House canteen on Monday evening after Vishnu Gupta, a Hindu Sena leader, lodged a complaint that the state house was serving ‘beef’. Officials at the Kerala House, however, said it was buffalo meat and not beef. Later, the dish was taken off the menu.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh also visited Kerala House and condemned police’s action.
“No one has given them the right to hurt people’s sentiments. If there is any problem related to food, then it is the job of the food inspector to inquire about it. This is not Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi’s job. Even (Minister of State for Home) Kiren Rijiju had admitted on camera that he consumes beef. Will Bassi go and arrest him? A lot of MPs consume beef,” said Singh.
Rijiju was quoted as saying by a newspaper that he ate beef, but later retracted his comment saying he was misquoted.