Meat seized from Jaipur hotel after vigilante attack not beef: Forensic lab
Meat seized from a Jaipur hotel that was sealed after cow protector vigilantes attacked it two months ago was not beef as alleged by the Hindu mob, police told HT on Tuesday.
The Forensic Science Laboratory that was examining samples seized from the Hayat Rabbani hotel ruled out any possibility that the meat was from a cow or its progeny, police officers added.
“From the very first day, I have been saying that it was chicken but no one from the administration listened to me. The report confirms all allegations leveled on us were false,” said Naeem Rabbani, owner of the hotel.
On March 19, more than 100 cow vigilantes surrounded the Rabbani hotel in the heart of Jaipur around midnight and protested in front of it for six hours, alleging that the establishment sold beef, which is banned in Rajasthan. Fiery chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Narendra Modi Zindabad’ rang out from the protesters, who had been unable to explain how they knew beef was served.
“We sent the meat samples taken from the hotel to the forensic science laboratory (FSL) for testing. The reports have revealed that the meat was not beef,” deputy commissioner of police (west) Ashok Gupta told HT.
Within hours of the attack, the hotel was sealed by the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) under the supervision of local councilor Nirmala Sharma, and hasn’t opened since despite a court order.
The attack on the hotel and its subsequent shutting down had triggered nationwide condemnation and the incident was seen as the latest push by cow vigilantes, who have grown in power and expanded rapidly since the BJP stormed to power at the Centre in 2014.
A Muslim man was lynched in Uttar Pradesh two years ago and a dairy farmer thrashed to death last month on similar beef-related suspicions by alleged cow protection vigilantes. The cow is considered holy by many Hindus but the violent vigilantism is seen by experts as a proxy war against Dalits and Muslims.
The Hindu leader who led the mob, Sadhvi Kamal ‘Didi’, appeared unhappy with the forensic tests.
“I will speak with the police to verify that whether the forensic test of the meat sample has been done correctly or not. Only after that, I will decide the next course of action,” said the 39-year-old president of the Rashtriya Mahila Gauraksha Dal.
But the forensic test results may have come too late for the hotel owner, who used to chalk up tens of thousands of rupees in daily sales but says he has bled money in recent weeks.
“I have incurred loss of lakhs of rupees and in the past one and a half month and the people who worked in the hotel are also jobless as it is sealed even today,” said Rabbani.
He added that the district and sessions court in Jaipur had issued an order on April 29 ordering the JMC to open the hotel within seven days and submit a compliance report in the court. “It’s been more than seven days now but the JMC hasn’t opened the seal,” Rabbani told HT.