New Delhi: Under attack for its action at Kerala House, Delhi Police on Tuesday said that they did not "raid" the canteen there, as it is being projected, and claimed to have acted on a PCR call.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi had called it preventive action, but in the evening the term "preventive" was dropped.
"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 and alerted the staff working there," Bassi had told reporters in the afternoon.
On being asked about reports that the state guest house removed "beef curry" from their menu before police could reach, he said, "I don't have any knowledge about it...We have been informed by the staff that there was no beef item on their menu."
In the evening, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat dropped the term "preventive" and stated, "No raid was conducted at Kerala House by Delhi Police. The police had gone there to attend a PCR call."
Around 4.15 PM yesterday, the police control room (PCR) received a call by a Hindu Sena activist, who reported that beef was being served at the canteen of Kerala House.
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.
"We received a call by a person who had come into notice for taking law in his own hands. We sent a police team to Kerala House to enquire about the matter and the staff there were also informed about the PCR call," said the top city cop.
"The staff at Kerala House were also asked to keep an eye for any potential mischief in the premises. The police were alert and officials were put on alert to avoid any untoward incident," said Bassi.
As far as the right to enquire such matters is concerned, there was no illegal conduct on part of the police, said the commissioner, citing the Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act, 1994, under which slaughter of cows, calves, bulls and bullocks and the possession of their flesh are illegal in Delhi-NCR.
Security was beefed up and scores of police officials were deployed outside the premises of Kerala Bhawan today on a "precautionary watch" to ensure that law and order is maintained.
National President of Hindu Sena, Vishnu Gupta, said that a friend had tipped them off about beef being served at the Kerala House canteen.
"When we went there to check, we found that names of all items were written in English, except one. When we asked whether the one written in Malayalam was beef, the staff there couldn't give a convincing answer. So we reported the matter to the police," Gupta claimed.
Meanwhile, DCP (New Delhi) Jatin Narwal maintained that there was no information about any gate-crash by right-wing activists at Kerala House. "However, the police are alert to deal with any situation," he added.
A political row broke out today over Delhi Police entering the state-run Kerala House on a complaint that it serves beef with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy condemning the "raid" as "unfortunate" and he was also backed by his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal.
The BJP justified the police action, saying it was only making inquiries following a complaint and was well within its right under the law of the land.
Dismissing the claims that beef was being served at the Kerala House canteen here, Kerala Chief Secretary said that police should have entered with permission yesterday.