Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new Tourism Minister, bureaucrat-turned-politician Alphons Kannanthanam after taking charge on Monday said that beef would continue to be consumed in Kerala.
Talking to PTI, the 1979 Kerala cadre IAS officer touched open one of the most controversial matters and said that the BJP had never said that beef cannot be eaten.
“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.
“The BJP does not mandate that beef cannot be eaten. We don’t dictate food habits in any place. It is for the people to decide,” he said.
However, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy advocates complete beef ban in India and claimed that Modi government will enact a law to ban cow slaughter in India.
“The Congress government had given 13-types of subsidies to support beef export and when we came to power, we abolished these subsidies one by one and the tune of beef export has come down significantly,” Swamy had said.
But Kannanthanam said if a BJP-ruled state like Goa was eating beef, there should be no problem in Kerala.
He later told a TV channel that he could act as a bridge between the Christian community and the BJP.
Addressing some of the concerns that were raised by the Christian community about the BJP in the past, Kannanthanam said it was mere propaganda.
“There was a lot of propaganda in 2014 that if Modi comes to power Christians will be burnt, churches will be demolished. The prime minister has made it clear that believe whatever you want, I will protect you. The PM has done a fantastic job in taking everyone along,” he said.
Parrikar, in July, had said in the Assembly that he would ensure that there was no shortage of beef in the state and, if required, it would be imported from neighbouring states.
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.
(With PTI inputs)