In a first, the Kerala BJP has flatly expressed its reservation over the beef issue for the first time in the state by observing a hartal, demanding shutdown of beef stalls in a village in Kollam district. Countering the saffron-party’s protest, the CPM and its youth wing DYFI organised a ‘Beef fest’ by distributing beef dishes free in public and raising slogans of secularism.
The hartal observed in Nedumpana panchayat was the latest in a series of issues raised by the local BJP unit against the functioning of beef stalls in the panchayat market there. Interestingly, this was for the first time that BJP came up with an anti-beef policy in the state. Earlier, many state BJP leaders had openly admitted that they don’t endorse the Sangh parivar policy of beef ban in the coastal state.
In fact, tension between the rival parties threatened to reach a boiling point when BJP supporters and CPM workers gathered on either side at the Nallila junction. However, the deployment of police ensured that no untoward incident took place.
The CPI(M) workers alleged that BJP’s called hartal to trigger communal unrest. “The BJP is trying to implement the Sangh parivar agenda because they have chosen this area which is thickly populated by people of minority communities. They are currently on a test case to spark communal violence with an intention to spread it to other areas also. There have never been such communal issues in the area. The BJP has held the hartal in Nallila alone, and not the entire Nedumpana panchayat, focusing on the minorities there,” Thomas Koshy, Nallila ward member was quoted as saying by Deccan Chronicle.
According to Manorama Online, BJP demanded the denial of permission for beef sales and accused local authorities of turning a blind eye towards ‘unauthorised’ abattoirs. According to the party, unlicensed vendors were selling meat in panchayat stalls.