New Delhi: Despite a bitter war of words between Centre and the Kerala government, 'beef curry' will be back on the Kerala House menu from Wednesday after it was taken off the menu following a raid by the Delhi Police, said reports on Tuesday.
The Kerala state guesthouse had temporarily taken buffalo meat off the canteen menu, but dismissed allegations that 'beef curry' was served at its premises, saying that only buffalo meat was offered.
The row over 'beef raid' further intensified after MPs from the state protested outside the Kerala House this afternoon.
The MPs wanted beef curry back on the menu at the Kerala House 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, an MP from Attingal constituency of Kerala.
A miffed Chief Minister Oommen Chandy condemned the "raid" as "highly objectionable" and threatened to take up the issue with the Centre.
Chandy dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in protest complaining that Delhi police "overstepped" their brief and demanded that he take strong action against those responsible. Several Kerala MPs also staged protest at the entrance to Kerala House in the national capital.
The Chief Minister received support from his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, who used the incident to hit out at the Modi government, as the AAP chief said the police action was an "attack on the federal structure", a charge rejected by BJP.
BJP leaders and Delhi police Commissioner B S Bassi justified the police action in going to Kerala government's guest house, saying it was only making inquiries following a complaint and was well within its right under the law of the land.
Accusing Chandy of "politicising" the issue, the BJP noted that serving of beef was illegal in Delhi.
The Kerala House dismissed allegations that 'beef' was served, saying that only buffalo meat was offered at the canteen, which is open to the public. However, it has temporarily taken buffalo meat off the canteen menu amid reports that it will be back from tomorrow.
It said that a complaint has been lodged over entry of some Hindu right wing activists without permission yesterday following a call to police complaining about cow meat on the canteen menu.
"I feel that the action of Delhi police is highly objectionable and they have clearly overstepped their brief," Chandy said in his letter to Modi while giving details on the "raid" at the canteen of Kerala House.
"Kerala House is not a private hotel or an institution run for making profit. It is an official guest house of the state government. The police action was really unfortunate. They should have shown some restraint before carrying out searches," Chandy, a Congress leader, earlier told reporters in Kozhikode while voicing his protest. Cutting across party lines, state political leaders supported Chandy.
Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson categorically denied that cow meat was served at Kerala House.
"I totally deny that cow meat was served here (canteen of Kerala House). Only buffalo meat is served," Thomson said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also waded into the beef row. "I strongly condemn what happened in Delhi at Kerala Bhavan. An unwise and unhealthy attempt to curb fundamental rights of people. Intolerance," she said.
Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat denied that a "raid" was carried out by its personnel.
"It is totally denied. Delhi police has neither conducted any raid nor made any seizure at that place(Kerala house). Only in response to PCR call, Delhi police had gone up to the reception area and after that getting satisfied and briefing the persons about any mischief mongers it returned. No raid was conducted, no raid was made," he said.
A PCR call by a person claiming to belong to a fringe Hindu right-wing group yesterday complaining that beef was being served at Kerala House's canteen had seen Delhi Police personnel rush to the premises.