A Germany-based Malayali cultural group has claimed that it was asked by the Consulate General of India in Frankfurt to remove beef curry from its menu at a food festival after objections were raised by some.

In a Facebook post, the Kerala Samajam Frankfurt said that it had prepared the menu based on the “common food interests of Kerala and its people”. “When some people with vested interests raised objection and threatened to make ruckus during the event, CGI [Consulate General of India] Frankfurt kindly requested us to revise our menu so that the event could be held without any incidents,” the group said.

The group said that after the request, “we as a responsible cultural organisation...decided to comply to maintain peace and harmony and above all, to uplift the core value of India: unity in diversity”.

The food festival was part of an event called Indien Fest, which took place in Frankfurt on Saturday with the theme “Unity in Diversity”. The festival had food and handicraft stalls set up by associations from different states of India. The “cultural extravaganza” was a “resounding success”, the Consulate General of India in Frankfurt said later, claiming it saw participation from nearly 20,000 people.

The Kerala Samajam Frankfurt said: “While preparing for the Indien Fest, all Indian organisations were explicitly asked to present the common delicacies of each state with only restriction being for alcohol. As per these instructions, Kerala Samajam Frankfurt had prepared the menu based on the common food interests of Kerala and its people.”

Three days before the event, a change.org petition was floated by a user called “Sima Hindu”. It cited the menu which included “parotta and beef curry” and said: “This will be a Cultural Festival to display Indian Culture. Beef is definitely NOT Indian. In fact slaughter of Cows is absolutely unthinkable and unspeakable in Indian culture. Sale of meat of Holy Cow is a direct attack against Indian Culture. Please sign this petition to stop the sale of beef in personal cultural space of Indians.”

Another such petition by Hindutva groups has been deleted, India Today reported.

It is not clear whether the objections were raised by members of any particular outfit. According to The New Indian Express, members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad were involved.

An unidentified member of the Kerala Samajam Frankfurt told the newspaper that the group was “vehemently put under pressure to alter our already published food menu and was asked to remove beef from this list”. “Ultimately, we succumbed to the pressure to avoid a law and order situation in the city,” the member said.

Later, some members boycotted the event and protested with placards.