The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday asked the Union Home Ministry to “immediately take action” against the Delhi Police officers who “raided” at Kerala House in New Delhi on the pretext that its eatery was serving beef.
AAP said that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government was playing a “dangerous game by trampling” basic principles of federalism in democratic India through “its rogue police”.
After Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said that “procedures” were not followed in raiding the Kerala House, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal took to twitter to “strongly condemn” Delhi Police for the raid.
Kejriwal was supported by Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also “strongly” condemned the raid and the “attempt to curb fundamental rights of people”.
CPI’s Brinda Karat and many Kerala MPs joined the chorus, even as Delhi Police Commissioner BL Bassi insisted that “nothing illegal” was done, saying whenever such calls are received “we’ve no option but to conduct inquiry”.
“The Delhi Police should have shown restraint. It was not some local restaurant running for profit but an official guest house where they barged into. It’s a place where the chief minister and other important ministers and dignitaries stay,” Chandy told the media in New Delhi. “And even if some sort of complaint arises, there is a proper procedure before action is taken. Clearly, the Delhi police is not under their government’s control, but under the Centre’s.”
Delhi CM Kejriwal jumped to Chandy’s support.
“I strongly condemn Del police raid on Kerala house. I agree with Kerala CM that Kerala House is a govt est & not a pvt hotel. Del police had no business to enter Kerala house. It is an attack on fed structure. Del police is acting like BJP Sena,” Kejriwal tweeted. “Will Del Police go n arrest a CM from a state Bhavan in del if they suspect the CM to be eating something that BJP or Modiji don’t like?”
A few minutes later, AAP wrote a series of tweets to denounce the police raid.
“Delhi Police under BJP has lost all sense of impartiality and professionalism and is behaving like a right wing frontal organisation of BJP,” said a tweet. “The union Ministry of Home Affairs should immediately take action against the Delhi Police officers who ordered this raid at Kerala House.”
Earlier, in the day, Delhi Police Commissioner Bassi had admitted that his officers went to Kerala House and made inquiries as the police had no choice but to respond since the call they had received was “from a person who had a history of taking the law into his hands”.
About 20 policemen went to Kerala House on Monday evening after Vishnu Gupta, a Hindu Sena leader, called and complained that the canteen at the state guest house was serving beef.
However, the Kerala House said it serves only buffalo meat and calls it “beef”.
“We are an instrumentality of law and when we get a call, we have no choice but to respond. And in this case we acted as per the law and are entitled to act in this fashion under the Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act 1994,” Bassi said.
“We went there to ensure there was no trouble. Our police officers went there and alerted their security staff after we got a call from the PCR. We cautioned them against the miscreants and warned them. We still have our officers deployed there as a precautionary measure in case trouble rears again.”
Bassi said that as per the Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act 1994, slaughtering of agricultural cattle, such as cow, calf, bull, ox and bullock, was prohibited. “Even possession of these meats is against the law in the national capital,” he said.
Brinda Karat said, “Illegal for police to raid the Kerala house under pressure from BJP. There’s no legal ban on beef in Delhi,”
Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson said the Resident Commissioner of Kerala House would lodge a formal complaint with DCP over the raid. “Activists have rights, so do we. We are saying we are serving only buffalo meat,” he said.
Congress’s Tom Vadakkan said, “I have eaten at Kerala Bhawan. Beef was never served there. Delhi police is indulging in moral policing on Hindu Sena’s orders.”