Beef back on Kerala House menu after protests

Criticised, Delhi Police say no raid conducted

Beef back on Kerala House menu after protests

 Beef will return to the menu of the Kerala House canteen in Delhi after a brief interlude over objections raised by a right-wing organisation and a search by the Delhi Police.

A day after authorities decided to take the item off its menu following a police raid on a complaint that the canteen was selling cow meat, protests and expression of solidarity on Tuesday prompted its return.

Officials have said the canteen serves buffalo meat and not cow meat, as alleged by the fringe elements.

The canteen is likely to serve beef on Wednesday.

There was widespread condemnation of the events leading to the police search in Kerala House after Hindu Sena activists telephoned the police control room saying it was selling cow meat.

Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson denied cow meat being served at Kerala House, and said they would wait for “police action” in the wake of their complaint over the incident.

“I totally deny that cow meat was served here (canteen of Kerala House). Only buffalo meat is served,” he told reporters in Delhi.

Kerala House, located on Jantar Mantar Road, witnessed protests on Wednesday led by CPM Politbureau member Pinarayi Vijayan and Kerala MPs A Sampath, P K Sreemati and C P Narayanan. They were joined by Malayali journalists based in the capital.

CPI leader Annie Raja and the AAP’s Ashutosh and Sanjay Singh also joined the protests.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemning the “unfortunate” incident of the staff canteen's disruption based on “wrong information” and seeking his intervention in taking stringent action against the police.

“This raid was conducted without any permission of or even prior intimation to the resident commissioner,” he said, adding: “I feel the Delhi Police's action is highly objectionable and they have clearly overstepped their brief.”

Officials said the Prime Minister’s Office has sought a report on the police action.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee also condemned the police action.

“I agree with Kerala CM that Kerala House is a govt estate and not a private hotel. Delhi Police had no business to enter Kerala house. It is an attack on federal structure. Delhi Police is acting like BJP Sena. Will Delhi Police go an arrest a CM from a state Bhavan in Delhi if they suspect the CM to be eating something that BJP or Modiji don't like? (sic)” Kejriwal tweeted.

Banerjee said: “I strongly condemn what happened in Delhi at Kerala Bhavan. An unwise and unhealthy attempt to curb fundamental rights of people. Intolerance.”

Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat denied that a “raid” was carried out by its personnel.

“The Delhi Police have neither conducted any raid nor made any seizure at Kerala House. Only in response to a PCR call did the Delhi Police go up to the reception area, and returned after being satisfied and briefing the persons about any mischief-mongers,” he said.

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