KOCHI: The ‘beef-intolerance’, it seems, has officially reached Kerala after the government-controlled Meat Products of India (MPI), which has nearly 500 outlets across the state, received a threat to discontinue sale of beef with immediate effect or face dire consequences.
Two men wearing helmets visited the direct outlet of MPI in Kakkanad, near Kochi on October 30 and asked them to stop selling beef. “They asked for beef. Our employees thought they were customers, but the two threatened to destroy the outlet if beef was not removed within 24 hours,” company director M P John told The Sunday Standard.
Since the two were wearing helmets, the employees could not recognise them.
“We have lodged a complaint with the police. To instil confidence in the staff, some of our senior officials, including the marketing manager, visited the outlet,” John said.
Coming within days after the ‘raid’ on Kerala House in New Delhi, MPI officials are not taking any chance and have asked for police protection, besides lodging complaints with the minister and the Principal Secretary.
“Given the times we are living in, MPI is not taking any chances,” John said. “This is the first such instance of threat or any incident at an MPI outlet since the company was formed in the late 60s.”
John said the company offers meat and meat-based products that are allowed to be sold, including pork, chicken, mutton and beef. Interestingly, in the name of ‘beef’, MPI sells only buffalo and bull meat, not cow meat. “We don’t sell cow meat as meat of buffalo and bull is tastier and healthier,” he said.
Kochi City Police Commissioner M P Dinesh said they are vigilant on incidents such as the beef issue, which can flare up. “We are taking all measures to guard against this,” he said.
On November 4, the local police registered a case on this issue.
The BJP state unit chose to stay away from the controversy, reiterating that the party was not against beef consumption in Kerala. BJP state president V Muraleedharan asked the state government to probe into the matter. “We are not against beef ban in Kerala,” he said.
MPI has nearly 500 outlets and three direct outlets—three in Thiruvananthapuram, one in Ernakulam (where the threat took place), and one at its headquarters at Koothattukulam.
*Figures are tonnes per annum
Beef: 30% of total output