Following protests in Jaipur, India's pink city, against “illegal” shutting down Hotel Hyatt Rabbani, the police on March 22 was forced to register first information report (FIR) against the cow vigilantes who had attacked the hotel for allegedly cooking beef in its kitchen. The attack, which took place on March 19, saw the hotel staff being badly thrashed in the presence of the police.
Among those who protested against the attack on the hotel included civil society activists, left party workers, women, Dalit and minority rights groups. They took place in front the Jaipur Police Commissioner's office at Shahid Smarak in Jaipur with the participation of more than 2,500 people.
Ever since the cow vigilantes' attack, Rabbani had been trying to file FIR, but in vain. On March 22, the police registered FIR, though the IPC sections applied to the violence are all bailable, such as unlawful assembly (143), simple battery (323) and trespass (451).
|The WhatsApp message which triggered the attack|
Ahead of the attack, Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) mayor Ashok Lahoti said in a WhatsApp group message that beef was being served in the hotel, hence it should be sealed. The cow vigilantes reached up to the hotel, attacked staff, even as chanting slogans like “Jai Shree Ram”, “Narendra Modi ki Jai”, “Rabbani Murdabad”, and “Bharat Mata ki jai.”
The guests occupying 20-odd rooms left amidst an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, as they were told the hotel “cooked beef”. The hotel, situated at KC Road, Banipark, Jaipur, was sealed and seized by JMC at 11pm after the cow vigilantes held it into hostage for five hours.
Feels Kavita Shrivastava of PUCL, Rajasthan, the attack came the wake of hardline Hindutva leader Yogi Adiyanath taking over as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, which has “emobldened” Rajasthan's cow vigilante groups.
The six-years-old hotel, interestingly, had been applying for license for the last three years. The owner, Naeem Rabbani, claims that the JMC has been refusing to give license despite the that the hotel is “regularly and filing commercial taxes” because “the JMC is ridden with bribes and red tape”, adding, “Most of the hotels after 2005 have not received their licenses.”
|Rabbani at police station on March 19|
In fact, according to the PUCL activist, Rabbani was “not feel safe” to go back to his hotel with the cow vigilantes reached the hotel on March 19. He went to the police station, but when “he realised that the police was working in tandem with the sadhvi, he left.”
The hotel has a very small kitchen used by the inhouse staff. Earlier, the hotel used to have room service, but it was closed it two years ago as supplying food was found to an expensive investment with little returns.
Charged under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995, Rabbani and others can be punished for up to 10 years' imprisonment if found guilty.