New Delhi/Kozhikode: The volume of protest over the raid was such that it brought a complete reversal of the situation by the end of the day. In a late evening communique, the Kerala Government’s Information Office in Delhi said ‘Samruddhi’ canteen at Kerala House only ‘serves buffalo meat which is legal in Delhi and would continue to serve it -’Kerala delicacy’ – without any hindrance.’
And, it expects the Delhi Police to provide security to do so as also punish the culprits. In fact, the state authorities were emboldened enough to state that it was never taken off the menu in the first place which was more of a mark of triumph in asserting their rights than a faithful reflection of the truth.
Slogan-shouting civilian groups and journalists turned the quiet and leafy premises of Jantar Mantar into a venue of dissent during the day. Alongside, CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan and three party MPs, A Sampath, P K Sreemathy and C P Narayanan sat on a separate dharna in front of Kerala House. They were joined by Aam Aadmi Party members Ashutosh and Sanjay Singh in a sign of widening implications.
’This is not acceptable,” Pinarayi told reporters. “Fascist forces are coming in the way of people’s way of life.” It’s a “humiliation” for the state government, Sampath said. “This is a property of the government of Kerala, just like a foreign nation having its embassy here in India…I’m not challenging the powers of the Union Government but what has happened is highly deplorable.”
Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson termed the incident as unfortunate and lodged a complaint against fringe group Hindu Sena for trespassing on the premises and threatening the staff members of the House. Kerala House Resident Commissioner Gyanesh Kumar wrote a two-page complaint to Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi about Hindu Sena members entering the premises of the House and then creating a ruckus.
‘’What happened was most unfortunate. Any miscreant entering the premises of Kerala House is unacceptable. They entered forcefully,” Jiji Thomson said. He said a complaint has been lodged against the miscreants. “We were told that some activists have entered without the permission of the Resident Commissioner. We have taken objection to that. We have lodged a complaint with the DCP of Delhi Police,” he said. Attacking the Delhi Police, he said “even the Delhi Police did not take permission before entering the premises.”
On the issue of beef being served at Kerala House canteen, he said: “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,” he said. He said buffalo meat is not banned in Delhi and is available everywhere. “We honour the sentiments of the people. We don’t want this to blow out of proportion. We have full faith in the Delhi Police.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in support of Chandy. “I strongly condemn this…it’s an attack on the federal structure. The police had no business to enter Kerala House,” he said. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said forces were interfering with “the fundamental rights of people.”
Kerala BJP president V Muraleedharan waded into the controversy thus: “Why was ‘beef’ written in Malayalam and other items in English on the menu? That shows something illegal was going on and the authorities wanted to cover it up.
CM Played down the Issue, says Kodiyeri
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