Jayant Sinha Responds After Row Over Feting Lynching Convicts

Union Minister Jayant Sinha garlanded the men convicted of lynching a meat trader in Jharkhand.


Union Minister Jayant Sinha who landed himself in a major controversy after felicitating eight men convicted of killing a meat trader last year in Jharkhand has responded to the criticism saying that he was “honouring the due process of law”.

In a series of tweets, Mr Sinha on Saturday said though he condemned violence and vigilantism, he had “misgivings” about the trial of the men convicted by a fast-track court. After the life sentences of the men were suspended by the high court last week, Mr Sinha, the BJP lawmaker from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh, garlanded them at his residence on the outskirts of his constituency.

Political opponents of Mr Sinha were unsparing in their attack on the union minister for his move. “This is despicable,” Jharkhand’s leader of opposition Hemant Soren tweeted in a stinging swipe, tagging Mr Sinha’s alma mater, the prestigious Harvard University of the US.

A total of 11 men, including a local BJP leader, were sentenced to a life term for beating the meat trader Alimuddin to death on June 30 last year.

The meat trader in Jharkhand was dragged out of his car and beaten to death by a mob that suspected he was carrying beef. As Alimuddin Ansari, 55, lay dying on a road in Ramgarh town, his car was also set on fire.

The deadly attack by the self-styled cow vigilantes had come just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called “killing people in the name of cow protection unacceptable”.

The Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand decided to send a strong message, ordered the police to quickly probe the case and sent it to a fast track court.

The court verdict came nine months later, in March this year.

They were convicted on the basis of a statement by Alimuddin’s wife Mariam Khatoon.

The police also came across a video that it said showed Nityanand Mahto, 45, the district BJP’s media in-charge dragging Alimuddin Ansari out of the car that a group of cow vigilantes had forced to stop near Ranchi. The mob took over from there and mercilessly thrashed him.

This isn’t the first time that Mr Sinha has been seen to be associating himself with the accused in this case.

After the court convicted the 11 people in March, Mr Sinha had demanded that the case be probed again. This time, by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

He had then claimed to have studied “various facets” of the case and held consultations. “I firmly believe that complete justice has not been done,” the BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Hazaribagh had said. Ramgarh town, where the incident took place, is part of his Lok Sabha constituency.

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