Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 17, 2020: The Kerala government has "no interest in hurting religious beliefs of any group," a minister clarified today amid controversy over a tweet shared by his department over a popular beef delicacy. "In Kerala, no one links food with religion," Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said NDTV.
On Thursday, Kerala Tourism shared recipe of a delicacy, which is relished across the state, on its official Twitter account. "Tender chunks of beef, slow-roasted with aromatic spices, coconut pieces, and curry leaves. A recipe for the most classic dish, Beef Ularthiyathu, the stuff of legends, from the land of spices, Kerala (sic)," the post, with a link to an article on the state tourism website, read.
The tweet shared on Makar Sankranti generated mixed reactions on social media with many users criticising the state government.
"Why this beef promotion?" asked a user. Another user wrote: "A match made in heaven"
Shobha Karandlaje, BJP MP from Udupi, wrote: "Kerala communist govt have declared a war against Hindus of the state! Kerala Govt is taking a ride on Hindu sentiments by glorifying Beef on #MakarSankranti day."
The Pinarayi Vijayan government today dismissed the criticism over the tweet, dubbing it as a "needles controversy".
"In Kerala, no one is linking food with religion. The government does not have any interest in hurting the religious beliefs of anyone. Giving communal colour to this is condemnable," Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran told reporters.
Bashing the critics, he further said: "Those who are trying to find communalism in all this are creating a controversy by saying ’put pork pictures’. Many dishes, including pork pictures, are already on the website... they might not have seen. Beef includes meat of buffalo also but some are trying to hide this and propagate that beef is only cow meat."
"Pork, beef, fish are all dishes loved by tourists who come to Kerala. No state in the country has more followers than us and when it comes to countries, very few stand above Kerala. Like food, all other items related to tourism are also marketed on the social media," Mr Surendran said.