Rahul Gandhi
In picture: Rahul Gandhi.Twitter/Office of RG

Rahul Gandhi has condemned the move by the Kerala wing of the Youth Congress to hold beef parties and serve beef, and has since then faced flak from the BJP because the person who organised it is apparently a "close aide" of his, as has been seen in many photographs.

With the BJP raising a stink about the Youth Congress members' actions, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh told news agency ANI: "Such elements have no place in the Congress. The Youth Congress workers [involved in the incident] have been suspended."

The protest

Several Left parties as well as the Kerala Youth Congress organised what they called a "beef fest" over the past few days, ostensibly to protest against the Central government's move to ban the sale of cows for the purpose of slaughter — something that has been construed as an effective ban on beef in many circles. 

Since the ban, the political class in Kerala has closed its ranks, cutting across party lines. And the charge has been led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who has accused the Central government of trying to destroy the secular fabric of the country by imposing the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter. Even the film fraternity in Kerala has lent its support to the issue. 

Congress action and Rahul's reaction

It was as part of these protests that several Left parties as well as the Kerala unit of the Youth Congress organised a beef fest, as part of which their cadres cooked beef in public and distributed it to people. however, the Youth Congress also slaughtered some cattle in public before its meat was cooked and distributed for consumption. 

Cow, cow slaughter, cattle slaughter, beef ban
Men load a cow onto a truck in the Jantar Mantar area of New Delhi (Representational image)Reuters

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi late on Sunday night took to Twitter to dissociate the party from the incident, saying: "What happened in Kerala yesterday is thoughtless, barbaric and completely unacceptable to me and the Congress party. I strongly condemn the incident."

Even Youth Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja took to Twitter to condemn the incident and say that the party respects the beliefs of all religions and sects. 

BJP hits back

The BJP has since then hit back at the Congress in general and Rahul Gandhi in particular. Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga has claimed that the person who led the Youth Congress protest and cow slaughter was one Rijil Makkutty, and that there were several photos of him with Rahul Gandhi. 

He then wrote an open letter to Rahul Gandhi saying that the sentiments of 100 crore Hindus had been hurt, and yet Makkutty was continuing in a top post of the Congress. He urged Rahul to act against Makkutty. That action came late on Monday morning, with Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala saying that three Youth Congress leaders involved in the cattle slaughter had been suspended from the party. 

See the video of the cow slaughter, purportedly by Youth Congress workers, here: [GRAPHIC VIDEO]

And here is the open letter Bagga has written to Rahul Gandhi: