India's 'cow vigilantes' hotel in the clear
A hotel owner in the Indian state of Rajasthan has expressed his frustration over the fact that his hotel has been closed for weeks over false accusations that it had served beef on the premises.
Police on Tuesday said forensic tests on meat seized from the Hayat Rabbani hotel in March showed it was definitely not beef, but chicken, the Hindustan Times reported.
Cows are revered as sacred animals among India's Hindus, and there are strict laws on their slaughter and consumption in several parts of the country, including Rajasthan.
"From the very first day, I have been saying that it was chicken but no one from the administration listened to me," hotel owner Naeem Rabbani told the paper. "The report confirms all allegations levelled on us were false."
The hotel was closed after a group of "cow vigilantes" protested in front of it for hours in March, chanting nationalist slogans.
The Indian Express website cited a member of the group saying they had gathered there after reading about rumours of a beef party at the hotel on WhatsApp, allegedly sent by Jaipur's mayor.
Such vigilante groups have been involved with several incidents of violence in India, particularly after the Hindu nationalist BJP party came to power in 2014. Last month, police investigated the death of a Muslim man who was attacked by a vigilante group while transporting cows in Rajasthan.
Mr Rabbani said the city authorities had yet to reopen his hotel, even though he had obtained a court order at the end of April telling them to do so. He said its closure had cost him tens of thousands in earnings.
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