New Delhi, September 4: Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam on Monday said that beef will continue to be consumed in the state of Kerala. Kannanthanam, who took charge as the Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Culture and Tourism, stated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) never said that beef cannot be eaten.

The bureaucrat-turned-politician touched upon this controversial issue of beef, and said just like Manohar Parrikar as the Chief Minister of Goa claimed beef will be consumed in his state, similarly it will be consumed in Kerala.

While talking to news agency PTI, Kannanthanam said, “The BJP does not mandate that beef cannot be eaten. We don’t dictate food habits in any place. It is for the people to decide.”

The Tourism Minister said if a BJP-ruled state like Goa was eating beef, there should be no problem in Kerala.

Later, he told a TV channel that he would be a bridge between the Christian community and the BJP party, which is often projected as a Pro-Hindu party. Kannanthanam  also addressed some of the concerns that were raised by the Christian community about the BJP in the past and said it was mere propaganda.

“There was a lot of propaganda in 2014, that if Modi comes to power Christians will be burnt, churches will be demolished. The prime minister has made it clear that believe whatever you want, I will protect you. The PM has done a fantastic job in taking everyone along,” he said.

In July, amid debate over beef-ban, Goa CM Parrikar said in the Assembly that he would ensure that there was no shortage of beef in Goa and, if required, it would be imported from neighbouring states.

In India, cow slaughter is banned in as many as 21 states.

Consumption of beef has also been barred in some of these states, including Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. It is also banned in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Kerala is among eight states where there are no restrictions on cow slaughter.

However, widespread protests and “beef fests” were organised in Kerala in May following a central government notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has stayed the Centre’s notification on cattle slaughter ban, while the Kerala High Court refused to order a stay on it.

The Supreme Court later clarified that Madras High Court’s stay on the notification is operational, implying that the stay on cattle slaughter ban is effective across the country.

(With PTI inputs)