Chilling Collusion Between State & Cow Vigilantes: The Case of Hotel Hyatt Rabbani

Written by Kavita Srivastava and Bhanwar Lal Kumawat | Published on: March 23, 2017

A vociferous citizens protest, led by civil liberties group, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Rajasthan has alleged that Sunday’s attack and public beating, of hotelier Rabani is a clear case of collusion between the Gau Rakshaks (cow vigilante groups) and a section of the Jaipur Police Commissionerate,the Jaipur Municipal Corporation and its Mayor and the BJP at the Highest level


Protest against attack on rabbani Hotel

The sealing and seizing of Hotel Rabbani on KC Road, Banipark, Jaipur by the Jaipur Municipal corporation, (JMC) on the night of March 19, night at 11pm after the Gaurakshaks held the hotel hostage for more than five hours is a clear case of collusion between the vigilante groups and sections of the state apparatus.

Here is a day by day account of the events:
The sealing of the hotel followed ‘their allegations’ of beef being cooked and consumed at the hotel, forcing the occupants of twenty rooms of the Hotel to vacate the place at the late hour, sealing and seizing the hotel, lodging of an FIR number 45 u/s 295 alleging the cooking of beef in the Hotel and offending the religious sentiments of the Hindus by the act of the hotel staff feeding beef to stray cows, the illegal arrest of two employees of the hotel and the witch-hunt of Mr. Rabbani as if he is a fugitive clearly affirms the direct collusion of the Gaurakshaks, the police, the JMC and those in power in the BJP in targeting Muslims in the State.

Further the delay in lodging Mr. Rabbani’s FIR, three days after the incident by the police( FIR number 46/2017 and its registration under simple bailable sections of 143, 451 and 323 IPC, strengthens the case of bias against the Muslim community of the State agencies being strongly made out by the PUCL.

 In the backdrop of the rise of Yogi Avaidyanath to the position of CM in UP the hardline of the BJP is raising its head in Rajasthan now. The incident of Hotel Rabbani is a clear illustration of this position. It is also obvious to all that the BJP in Rajasthan will use every such situation to cause communal polarisation between the communities, in the run up to the 2018 State Assembly elections..

 In a joint protest meeting of a wide spectrum of citizens from organisations like the left parties, human rights organisations, women’s groups, Dalit groups and Muslim and social organisations, held on the March 21, 2017 outside the Jaipur Police Commissioners office at Shahid Smarak in Jaipur more than 2500 people gathered. There were men and women from all communities, although the Muslim community members outnumbered other communities. (see photos and memorandum attached)

Protest against attack on rabbani Hotel

Speaker after speaker condemned the collusion of the State agencies in particular the police and the JMC in the attack that took place on Hotel Rabbani and its owners and staff. They also spoke of the increasing communal nature of governance and pledged that the harmony of the city would not be allowed to be vitiated by the state agencies. 
 
The main demands of the speakers was that all police officials who were in collusion that evening including DCP West Mr Ashok Kumar, Incharge Bani Park Dharmendra Kumar and others should be suspended, apart from departmental and administrative action, criminal cases should also be lodged against them. FIR no 45/2017 should be closed with immediate effect. Naeem Rabbani’s application should be converted into an FIR immediately with strong sections being applied, the hotel should be de-sealed  with immediate  effect and cases under the IT Act and suitable IPC sections, should be lodged against the Mayor who falsely spread via watts app that cows were made to eat beef by the Hotel  Rabbani.  

 The Collusion of the police and the Gaurakshaks
Was the Sadhvi led attack on the hotel by Gaurakshaks spontaneous or planned, is something that will emerge following investigations and inquiry, if there is a fair and impartial investigation allowed into the whole incident. The incident on the evening of March 19 began with Qasim the cleaner from the hotel throwing garbage at the designated place of the JDA at about 5.30pm, the time at which Sadhvi Kamal Didi herself is at the garbage dump trying to catch stray cows in order to escort them to Hingonia Gaushala. Within a few minutes of throwing of the garbage, the Sadhvi rounded up more than a hundred Gaurakshaks ( none of them belonged to that area) and begins an aggressive protest outside Hotel Hyatt Rabbani, showing how well organised these forces are, ever on a vigil to mobilise people to attack Muslims.

That the police reached within minutes of the Sadhvi reaching and instead of firmly dispersing the crowd who was threatening the hotelier and staff, they instead started pandering to the Gaurkshaks wishes. They let the protestors barge into the Hotel and even beat up the receptionist Wasim Khan, raising serious questions regarding the police’s compliance with the law of the land.

 On learning that the police was looking for him and a protest was taking place outside his Hotel, the owner Naeem Rabbani reached the Sindhi camp police station with another Hotelier Irshad, requesting the police to talk to them at the police station. The audio recording (which is attached along with the script), between the Irshad, the police and Kamal Didi shows clearly that the police are letting Sadhvi Kamal decide what needs to be done by the police. The Sadhvi insists over the phone that they should choose between their hotel shutting down or facing ‘them’ (that is the mob) for the ‘wrong things’ that they were doing. She also threatens that if Irshad and Rabbani donot come to the Hotel site then their hotel will be closed down (sealed). She threatens them with this statement repeatedly. She also said that she would get them police protection and they should come. When they say that they have been stopped at the Police station and cannot come, she abuses them. When she returned the phone to the Bani park Thana incharge, he angrily said over the phone to Irshad and Rabbani,” that first you make mistakes and then you don’t come and talk”. Then tells his police at the police station to sendthem,” send them, send them”, meaning, send them to the hotel.