In its first ever public protest in Kerala resonating with the Sangh Parivar's beef ban policy, the BJP observed a hartal on Friday, urging to shut down all beef stalls at the Nedumpana grama panchayat area in Kollam.

Countering the BJP hartal, CPM and its youth wing DYFI conducted a ‘beef fest’ and distributed beef curry and tapioca across the panchayat for free. The event saw good participation, with the locals finishing off the dishes in a matter of minutes.

Tension prevailed in the area with BJP and CPM workers gathering on either side of the road at the Nallila junction. A police team was deployed at the junction to prevent any untoward incidents. 

BJP has been protesting against beef stalls in and around the Nedumpana panchayat for the last several months. The hartal observed at the Nallila market was the latest in the series. 

CPM workers alleged that BJP’s hartal was meant to cause communal unrest in the area, which has plenty of people from minority communities. However, the BJP workers said that the beef stalls at the market were functioning without proper licence or permits, making them illegal.