Kerala Bhawan raid : CM Oommen Chandy demands action against cops

Published on: 29 Oct, 2015
Published under: General Kerala News

A day after Delhi Police reportedly raided Samrudhi, suspecting it of serving ‘beef’, the popular restaurant in Kerala Bhawan temporarily took the item off its menu. This has upset loyal customers of the canteen and sparked a Centre-state row.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal called the action ‘an attack on India’s federal structure’, while Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has shot off a letter to PM Narendra Modi to ‘rein in the cops who had no business raiding the premises’.

The raid itself was denied by Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi, while Chandy and the Karala Bhawan canteen staff denied serving cow meat-a food item banned in Delhi and several other states. Cow slaughter is prohibited in most Indian states, including Delhi.

Following the ‘raid’ by a team of Delhi police, which was reportedly accompanied by members of right-wing outfit Hindu Sena, Kerala chief secretary Jiji Thomson and Kerala Bhawan canteen staff said it was buffalo meat that was served to customers as ‘beef’. “They have never done it. They served buffalo meat and called it beef. Cow meat was never served,” Thomson said.

Bassi said a team of police officers from the Parliament Street police station reached the state guest house after receiving a PCR call that beef was being served. “It was a security measure,” he said.

Kerala House canteen staff said they make beef curry/fry only with buffalo meat. “We buy it from authorised vendors in Delhi Gate and Nizamuddin area. Though we call it beef, it is buffalo meat and not cow meat,” the restaurant manager told Mail .

Despite the controversy, the canteen was buzzing on Tuesday. However, many customers were upset that beef fry was not on the menu. “This place is known for the authentic Kerala food it serves, especially beef fry. Why create an unnecessary controversy,” said Ravindran R, who was in Delhi for a business trip.

“A few unidentified persons accompanied by Delhi Police officials came to Kerala House and conducted a raid on staff canteen,” said Chandy in his letter, adding: “The raid was conducted without any permission or prior information to local state government officials.”

Chandy got support from his counterparts in Delhi, West Bengal and Assam.

Kejriwal also accused Delhi Police of acting as a BJP frontal outfit. “I strongly condemn Delhi Police. I agree with Kerala CM that Kerala House is a government establishment and not a private hotel. Delhi Police had no business to enter Kerala House. It is an attack on the federal structure.” Kejriwal tweeted.

However, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) questioned the role of Kerala Bhawan’s staff to include ‘beef’ in the menu and writing it in Malayalam while all other items were listed in English.

Calling it a “deep conspiracy”, VHP’s joint general secretary Surendra Jain demanded action against all those who prevented Delhi Police from taking samples of the food.

Despite facing flak from various political parties, Delhi Police refused to term their action as “raid” and said it was preventive measure.

Around 4.15 PM on Monday, the police control room (PCR) received a call from a Hindu Sena activist, who reported that beef was being served at Kerala House canteen.

A team from Parliament Street police station was sent to Kerala House to deal with any potential violence.

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