A Malayali cultural organisation in Germany said it was asked to take beef curry off its menu by the Consulate General of India, Frankfurt, following objections raised by a group.
The Kerala Samajam Frankfurt (KSF) was taking part in the Indien Fest, organised by the consulate with the theme ‘Unity in diversity’.
A member of the organisation said on Facebook that KSF took beef curry off its menu on the consulate’s request but also boycotted the event.
In a statement by its executive committee, the Kerala Samajam said, “When some people with vested interests raised objection and threatened to make ruckus during the event, CGI Frankfurt kindly requested us to revise our menu so that the event could be held without any incidents.”
The group said it had complied to maintain “peace and harmony”.
Meanwhile, Kerala Kaumudi reported that the German police also intervened to tell the protesters the country did not forbid anyone from eating what they wanted.
A New Indian Express report and Donny George, a participant from KSF, say that objections had been raised by VHP members saying “eating beef is against Hindu culture”.
George said the VHP members had called for a protest.
Another member of the KSF told the NIE, “KSF was vehemently put under pressure to alter our already published food Menu and was asked to remove beef from this list.”
Following the consulate’s intervention, beef was removed from the menu.
George wrote on Facebook that the KSF then boycotted the event and a group of young people had held a protest against religious intolerance and for the freedom to eat what they wanted.
According to The Week, KSF said the group has staged a silent protest and there was no ruckus as reported by some media outlets.
On Saturday, a change.org petition to “Save Culture of COW PROTECTION in Indian NRI Circles & Festivities” was started by user ‘Sima Hindu’ in a bid to stop the sale of beef at the fest, saying “Beef is definitely NOT Indian”.
A counter-petition was started by Bastin Xavier on Sunday to “show our solidarity and represent TRUE INDIA at all international forums.“ As of 11.45 am on Tuesday, the first petition had received 65 signatures while the second had 609.
Data from the National Sample Survey Office in 2015 showed that 80 million people in India ate eat beef or buffalo meat, of which 12.5 million were Hindu.
George wrote on Facebook that the protest against beef showed that right-wing elements were spreading intolerance outside India as well.
On its Twitter page, the consulate called the festival “a huge success”.