New Delhi: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has criticised a Kerala Tourism advertisement that showcased beef Ularthiyathu, as part of Kerala's identity, on the day of auspicious Hindu festival Makar Sankranti.
"Is this tweet meant for promoting tourism or promoting beef? Isn't it hurting sentiments of crores of cow worshipers? Is this tweet generated from the pious land of Shankaracharya," tweeted VHP National Spokesperson Vinod Bansal.
"The @KeralaTourism must understand that u can't promote anything by hurting religious sentiments of millions of its own tourists worshipping cows," it said and also tagged Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel, demanding action against it.
The Kerala Tourism on Wednesday tweeted a photograph of beef Ularthiyathu, a signature Kerala dish, to promote tourism.
The tweet read: "Tender chunks of beef, slow-roasted with aromatic spices, coconut pieces, and curry leaves. A recipe for the most classic dish, beef Ularthiyathu, the stuff of legends, from the land of spices, Kerala."
The tweet went viral, provoking sharp reactions from many social media users who questioned the need to promote the recipe on a day when millions of Hindus were celebrating Makar Sankranti, as well as the festivals of Makara Vilakku in Sabarimala and Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
Many among the Twitterati claimed the tweet hurt their religious sentiments since it displays a picture of beef.
One user on the mico-blogging site wrote: "Dear @KeralaTourism stop insulting Hindus with your mindless hatred, it will prove to be economically disastrous for your already empty coffer state!"
"Try promoting Pork also. you will get a taste of your medicine. Shameless!" said another.
A third post said: "Just this has made all my Kerala tour plans cancelled altogether. I will rather tour Karnataka and Tamil Nadu."
Reacting to the controversial tweet, state Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran told IANS that he is not aware of it, adding that Kerala Tourism will never do anything to hurt the sentiments of anyone.
"I will look into what the issue is, and am sure Kerala Tourism will never do anything to hurt the sentiments of anyone. We want more and more people to visit Kerala," Surendran said.