Jaipur ex-royals protest against sealing of Rajmahal Palace Hotel

Padmini Devi, Rajmata of the erstwhile royal family, led a silent rally from Tripoliya Gate in the City Palace to Rajmahal Palace on Thursday in protest against the sealing of the hotel

Pink City Jaipur on Thursday saw erstwhile Rajasthan Royals stepping out of their palaces onto the streets to protest against the Jaipur Development Authority’s (JDA) ‘unjust’ action to seal the Rajmahal Palace Hotel.

Last week, JDA officials had sealed the main entrance of the Rajmahal Palace Hotel owned by the former royal family.

Padmini Devi, Rajmata of the erstwhile royal family, addressed the protest rally and said that they felt insulted by the action of the government. She led a silent rally from Tripoliya Gate in the City Palace to Rajmahal Palace.

Diya Kumari, a BJP legislator in the Rajasthan Assembly and Padmini Devi’s daughter, asked JDA commissioner Shikhar Agarwal to stop the action.

They alleged that the action is illegal and against a court order.

Agarwal, along with other officials and policemen, had entered the hotel premises on 24 August and sealed the receiver’s office, some partially broken quarters and three main gates of the hotel.

Padmini Devi claimed that according to a map, which was made and decreed by the court in 1993, the land on which the hotel is built belongs to them.

She said that the rally is not only of the royal family of Jaipur, but also has the participation of other citizens. She also said that the protest is against the bad policy of the government.

“We want to show that such a violation of the court order cannot be accepted,” she said.

But Urban Development Minister Rajpal Shekhawat said there is nothing unusual in the JDA action as it is a regular acquisition process.

The JDA officials said that the hotel authorities had filed an application in the Jaipur Municipal Corporation for reconstruction although court cases are pending on its ownership. The JDA found it an attempt to bypass their authority. The officials said that some new construction also had begun on the land, which made them take immediate action.

Padmini Devi had met various religious leaders, including the Chief Qazi, and sought their support for the protest.

Rajput organisations and Congress also came out in solidarity with the former royal family in their fight against the authorities.

Congress leader Sachin Pilot told media that the attitude of the government is undemocratic as the matter is pending before the court. However, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia and her office maintained silence on the matter.