Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday expressed regret for his purported remarks that Kodavas eat beef, for which he is facing flak, saying he has a lot of respect for Kodava people and their culture. Several Kodava organisations held protests in front of the Kodagu district Deputy Commissioner’s office today in protest against Siddaramaiah’s remarks.
“I had not said like that. I had said food habits vary from people to people and they eat what they like. I have already tweeted and clarified that I did not say like that. I have a lot of respect for Kodava people and their culture, and if my statements have in any way hurt them, I express my regret," Siddaramaiah told reporters here.
Alleging BJP’s role behind protests against him, the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly said: “BJP people don’t have any other work, they look for emotive issues." According to reports, some of the protesters accused Siddaramaiah of having hurt the feelings of the Kodava community and demanded that he apologise openly. Some have even threatened to file a complaint against him for hurting the sentiments of the community.
Earlier on Saturday, Siddaramaiah through a series of tweets, tried to clarify his stand on the issue. “My statement about beef and Kodava culture has been misinterpreted by the media. I regret if that has hurt the sentiments of Kodavas. I am aware of Kodava culture and I greatly respect it." “We have various food traditions and habits. Be it goat or sheep or chicken or pork or beef. I meant that it is wrong to link religion and food habits. I never intended to say that Kodavas eat beef.
I have great respect for their culture," he added.