Tamil Nadu SC/ST Panel pulls up collector over removal of beef from biryani fest menu

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The Tamil Nadu State Commission for the Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe has sought an explanation from the Tirupattur district collector for taking beef off the menu for a biryani festival in the district.

The commission’s notice was not before the three-day ‘Ambur Biryani Festival’, scheduled to be held between May 12 and 15 was cancelled by the district administration citing heavy rain forecast.

“The commission has received information by way of a petition that you, as the head of the District Administration, have arranged for a biryani festival at Ambur, proposing to exhibit in stalls for sales to the public, different items of the biryani which will number more than 20. In the press note, you have specifically stated that beef biryani shall stand excluded,” the letter, addressed to district collector Amar Kushwaha, stated.

“This Commission, on consideration of the petition, has chosen to take up the matter for enquiry as a practice of untouchability in the form of discrimination against SC/ST and the Muslim population which accounts for more than 2 lakh. You are required to submit your remarks as to why the same shall not be taken as discrimination on a communal basis and initiate action against such official discrimination,” the letter further read. Kushwaha did not respond to HT’s calls and messages for a comment on this issue.

Biryani sellers have been hoping to get a GI tag for the famous Ambur biryani, which sells across the state. In Tamil Nadu, beef is not as integrated into its food culture as it is in neighbouring Kerala. However, both biryani and beef are widely consumed by the population without any controversies. This tolerance over differences has often been attributed several times by political analysts as a positive influence on the Dravidian movement.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its 2021 election manifesto for the assembly elections, had said that they would impose a ban on cow slaughter if voted to power. However, in May of that year, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) won the elections and MK Stalin was made chief minister of state.

The ruling DMK’s ally Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK)’s deputy general secretary Vanni Arasu took to Twitter to say that there should be no discrimination in food and that it goes against Stalin’s idea of the Dravidian Model.

“We demand that beef which is consumed by 75% of the people be included in the biryani festival…” Arasu said.

Source : Hindustan Times

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