A day after Delhi police carried out “searches” in Delhi’s Kerala House over an allegation that beef was being served in its canteen, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi terming the entire episode “highly objectionable”. Mr. Chandy has also sought strong action against the Delhi police for “overstepping” their brief.
“I feel that the action by Delhi Police is highly objectionable and they have clearly overstepped their brief,” the Chief Minister of Kerala wrote in his letter to PM Modi.
Detailing the incident, Chandy charged that a few unidentified persons accompanied by Delhi Police officials last evening came to Kerala House and conducted a raid on the staff canteen. They disrupted the functioning of the canteen alleging that cooked cow meat was being served, Mr. Chandy claimed, adding that the complaint was based on “wrong information”.
On Monday afternoon, the Delhi Police allegedly received a call from a fringe right-wing group which claimed that beef was being served at Kerala House’s canteen. Soon after the call, a police team rushed to the spot to carry out searches.
Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson completely dismissed claims that beef was served in the Kerala House canteen.
“No. I totally deny it. We have never done it. What they have done is they have given buffalo meat and that is what they term as beef. No cow meat was served,” Thomson clarified.
Chandy expressed concern over the incident, claiming that some people were unnecessarily creating a row over the issue of consuming beef. He promised that he would take up the issue with the Centre. Not just the CM, state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala too fumed at the incident. According to Chennithala, Delhi Police’s action amounted to an infringement of the powers of the state.
The state government will soon send a letter to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi expressing Kerala’s strong protest over the issue, Chennithala explained.
The Opposition in Kerala also joined the protest.
“It is the individual’s freedom to decide what to eat and wear, and that freedom should not be infringed upon,” said former Defence Minister and senior Congress leader AK Antony.
CPI(M) leader member Pinarayi Vijayan alleged that the searches at the state-run guest house was part of the Sangh Parivar agenda.
“The same forces who killed Mohd Iqlakh in Dadri are behind the raid at Kerala House also. The raid at state-run guest house is a warning that they will barge into any kitchen in the country,” Vijayan lashed out in his Facebook post.
“There is neither any ban on beef in Delhi nor any restriction to cook or sell it at Kerala House. The Delhi Police’s illegal action, according to communal forces, is part of the Sangh Parivar agenda,” he alleged.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal too slammed the Delhi police.
“I strongly condemn Delhi Police raid on Kerala house. I agree with Kerala CM that Kerala house is a govt establishment 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 and 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?,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.
The Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi has reacted to CM Kejriwal’s allegation.
“It was not a raid. It in fact was a preventive measure as per our standing operating procedures. We had alerted their private security staff as soon as we got a call to prevent any protest. We also deployed possible security measures there and alerted the staff working there,” Bassi told reporters while reacting to CM’s tweet.
The police “dealt with the matter with necessary alertness and took their position. The objective was to ensure that law and order was not disrupted,” said New Delhi DCP Jatin Narwal on Monday after the police force drew flak for its action.
This incident comes within weeks after a man in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh was lynched to death by a mob over rumours that he ate beef.
(With inputs from PTI)