In March, as many as 150 Hindu activists from a local cow protection group surrounded Jaipur's Hayat Rabbani hotel, accusing it of serving beef to its customers. The hotel was sealed and two employees were arrested. They hotel staff were also accused of "feeding beef to cows". To placate the angry crowd, a sample of the meat was seized by the police and sent to a lab for testing.
On Wednesday, a report in the Hindustan Times newspaper suggested that the meat sent for analysis was not beef. "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 the paper.
Naeem Rabbani, owner of the hotel, said he had been insisting that the meat was not beef from the day his hotel was attacked. The attack was widely condemned, and seen as another attempt by fringe vigilante groups operating as 'gau rakshaks' to seek the limelight and foment communal trouble. Several such attacks have taken in the last two years, two men have been lynched to death, and even legitimate cow transporters assaulted by thugs posing as cow protectors.
The Jaipur case was a chilling reminder of Mohammad Akhlaq, a Muslim blacksmith who was dragged out of his home and bludgeoned to death on the suspicion that he slaughtered and ate a cow. The meat from his house was also sent for analysis and later was not found to be beef.
A leader of the area's 'Rashtriya Mahila Gau Raksha Dal', Kamal 'Didi', told the Indian Express in March that they acted after spotting something resembling beef tossed as garbage around the hotel. There were also "rumours" of a beef party.
Hotel Has Not Been Reopened
However Kamal 'didi' is clearly not thrilled with the findings of the lab.
She told the paper that she will speak to the police "to verify whether the forensic test of the meat sample has been done correctly or not."
But owner Rabbani has a bigger problem at hand — he's bleeding money due to daily losses incurred after the seal on his hotel. Although the district and sessions court in Jaipur had asked the JMC to open the hotel, they have neither opened the seal not filed the compliance report.