Foreign tourists can eat beef in their own country before coming to India, says Tourism minister

India: Newly appointed Union tourism minister Alphons Kannanthanam on Friday, said that foreign tourists can “eat beef in your own country and then come to India”, news agency ANI reported.

On Sept 5, his first day in his new office as tourism minister, bureaucrat-turned-politician Alphons 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.

The minister made the remark when asked about the hospitality sector was affected in the states that have banned the consumption of beef.

The bureaucrat-turned-politician had earlier said beef would continue to be consumed in Kerala.

Cow slaughter is banned in 21 states of the country. The consumption of beef is also barred in some of these states, including Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Maharashtra. Kerala is among the eight states that don’t have any restrictions on cow slaughter.

When asked about his remark on beef in Kerala later, Alphons said: “It’s a cock-and-bull story. I am not the food minister to decide on it.”

Alphons was recently appointed as the minister of state for tourism (independent charge) as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffled his core team inducted nine new ministers.

The crackdown on the beef industry became a raging debate in the last few years, with a wave of attacks on Muslims suspected of either transporting cattle or storing meat. About 30 people have been killed in cow-related violence since 2010, according to reports.

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