A hotel in Rajasthan's Jaipur, shut over allegations of serving beef.
A 28-room hotel is Jaipur is facing the wrath of cow vigilante groups, who allege that it has been serving beef that's illegal in the state. Since their protests and allegations on Sunday night, the police have filed a case, the hotel has been sealed by the municipal authorities, who claim it did not have license to sell food. Rights activists say the hotel is being targeted as it is the only Muslim hotel in a dominantly Hindu locality.
Last year, after a series of incidents involving attacks on people by cow vigilantes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sounded a stern warning, saying, "anti-social elements hiding behind the mask of gau rakshaks".
On Sunday night, as the hotel employees were disposing of garbage, a waiting 5 -member team of a local cow protection group, confronted them. "Wrong things are happening at this hotel," said 35 -year-old Kamal Didi, who was leading the team. "They are serving beef and slaughtering cows... they are also providing shelter to runaway couples," she added.
The activist alleged that the hotel employees were even feeding waste meat to the cows - citing a few kilos of meat in the garbage that was being disposed of by the hotel employees.
The hotel owner Nayeem Rabbani told the media today that he was too scared to go to the hotel when the mob appeared on Sunday night. "They have trespassed in my hotel and ruined my reputation. I was not serving beef. I have nothing to hide... They are hurting my business," he said.
The meat sample has been sent for testing to the forensic laboratory. But the police meanwhile, have arrested two employees of the hotel for "creating a social disturbance" and "hurting religious sentiments", said a local police officer, Ram Phool. Asked if there was any evidence, he said throwing waste in front of cows came under the offence of hurting religious sentiments.
The municipal officials, who were unable to answer why stray cows were frequenting the garbage dump instead of being at the municipal cow shelter, have sealed the 8-year-old hotel. "We have sealed the hotel, not over whether it was beef or not, but because it did not have a proper operating licence," said Jaipur mayor Ashok Lahoty.
Local rights activists say throwing garbage is not an offence worth an arrest. "They did nothing. They only threw garbage and for throwing garbage, you can penalise under the municipality act," said Paker Farooq from the Association for Protection of Civil Rights.