A ‘beef festival’ in Kolkata has reportedly been forced to rename the event after organisers allegedly received phone calls from people identifying themselves as members of BJP and Bajrang Dal and threatened to protest at the venue.
The ‘Kolkata Beef Festival’, scheduled to be held on 23 June, announced on Facebook that it had changed its name to ‘Kolkata Beep* Festival’. (Note the asterisk next to Beep.)
“However, after receiving numerous calls from people who identified themselves as members of the Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and threatened to stage agitations if only beef remained the theme of the festival, we decided to rename it,” Arjun Kar, one of the organisers, told Hindustan Times.
While BJP’s Bengal president Dilip Ghosh said he was not aware of any party worker threatening the festival organisers, he told the daily, “Those who championed beef eating culture have all lost in the elections. The people of Bengal are no longer taking such provocative acts lightly. Eat whatever you want at your home but why do you advertise or need to make it a festival? Isn’t it creating provocations?”
Selling and eating beef is not illegal in the state.
The event’s venue was also changed to a hotel on Sudder Street after Priya Cinema’s owner backed out of holding it at its restaurant, the Times of India reported. While Priya Cinema’s owner said he backed out because of the large number of people expected to attend the event, he also said he was being pragmatic in “sensitive time”.
Bengal has seen a lot of political violence during and after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.