India’s new Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam on Monday said people in Kerala will continue to consume beef, PTI reported.

“The BJP does not mandate that beef cannot be eaten,” he said. “We don’t dictate food habits in any place. It is for the people to decide,” he said, adding that if a state like Goa, which was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, could eat beef, then there was no problem in Kerala.

In July, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had said that they would not restrict beef imports from neighbouring Karnataka to avoid a supply shortage in the state. At least 30% of Goa’s population is said to eat beef.

Kannanthanam also said that he hopes to act as a bridge between the Narendra Modi government and Christians. “There was a lot of propaganda in 2014, that if Modi comes to power Christians will be burnt, churches will be demolished,” he said. “The prime minister has made it clear that believe whatever you want, I will protect you.”

He was one of the nine people inducted into the council of ministers after the Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday. The former IAS officer of the 1979 batch was also appointed the minister of state for electronics and information technology. He was the commissioner of the Delhi Development Authority, when he was dubbed the “demolition man” for razing around 15,000 illegal buildings.