VELLORE/CHENNAI: A gathering storm over disallowing beef biriyani in the three-day Ambur biryani festival that was slated to start on Friday was averted after the Tirupattur district administration cited the Regional Meteorological Centre’s warning of heavy rain in the area on Friday and Saturday to postpone the event indefinitely.
However, its troubles are far from over, as the Tamil Nadu SC/ST Commission has sought an explanation from Collector Amar Kuswaha as to why should the exclusion of beef biriyani not be considered discriminatory.
On Thursday, after the issue hackled a large number of people in Ambur where beef stalls outnumber those selling mutton by a wide margin, a few of the beef biriyani shop owners warned of setting up stalls outside the festival venue in protest.
Later, the representatives of Muslims and Dalits involved in the business met to discuss and take up the matter with the Collector.
Jumping into the fray, Ambur Hindu Munnani president JS Chidambaram had shot off a letter to the Ambur Tahsildar on Wednesday seeking cancellation of the festival, claiming that there were rumours that pork and bull meat would be mixed in biriyani prepared for the event.
There was widespread criticism from social activists and politicians, too.
“Ambur biriyani is a generic name given to all types of biriyanis, including the one made with beef. It is the choice of the people in Ambur,” Aadhavan Dheetchanya, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association (TNPWAA), said in a statement.
The associations of butchers and biryani cooks demanded that they, too, be included in the talks with the Collector.
VCK MLA Sinthanai Selvan said people in the State have been consuming beef for long, which, however, has assumed religious colour in the country now.
That is when the forecast by the Meteorological department about the chances of inclement weather in the next two days provided much-needed relief to the district administration just a day ahead of the event.