Kerala will continue to eat beef, says new Tourism Minister

Kerala: On the first day in his new office as tourism minister, bureaucrat-turned-politician Alphons Kannanthanam said beef would continue to be consumed in Kerala.

According to PTI, Kannanthanam said that the BJP had never said that beef cannot be eaten.

“The BJP does not mandate that beef cannot be eaten,” he said. “We don’t dictate food habits in any place. It is for the people to decide,” he said, adding that if a state like Goa, which was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, could eat beef, then there was no problem in Kerala.

“As Goa chief minister, Manohar Parrikar has said that beef will be consumed in the state. Similarly, it will be consumed in Kerala,” he said.

In July, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had said that they would not restrict beef imports from neighbouring Karnataka to avoid a supply shortage in the state. At least 30% of Goa’s population is said to eat beef.

Kannanthanam also said that he hopes to act as a bridge between the Narendra Modi government and Christians. “There was a lot of propaganda in 2014, that if Modi comes to power Christians will be burnt, churches will be demolished,” he said. “The prime minister has made it clear that believe whatever you want, I will protect you.”

Cow slaughter is banned in as many as 21 states.

Consumption of beef has also been barred in some of these states, including Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. It is also banned in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Kerala is among eight states where there are no restrictions on cow slaughter.

However, widespread protests and “beef fests” were organised in Kerala in May following a central government notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has stayed the Centre’s notification on cattle slaughter ban, while the Kerala High Court refused to order a stay on it.

The Supreme Court later clarified that Madras High Court’s stay on the notification is operational, implying that the stay on cattle slaughter ban is effective across the country.

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