Union Minister Jayant Sinha has issued a stunning justification after he faced growing criticism for garlanding eight people, who were earlier convicted for lynching a Muslim meat trader to death.
Faced with growing condemnation, Sinha, an IIT Delhi, Harvard Business School and McKinsey alumnus, took to Twitter to clarify his stand. He wrote, “I unequivocally condemn all acts of violence and reject any type of vigilantism. The rule of law is supreme in our constitutional democracy. Any unlawful acts, particularly those that violate the rights of any citizen, should be punished with the full force of the law.
“In the Ramgarh case, the Hon’ble Ranchi High Court, which is the first court of appeal, has suspended the sentence of the accused and released them on bail while admitting their case. The case will once again be re-heard.”
Sinha then added, “I have repeatedly expressed my misgivings about the Fast-Track Court judgement sentencing each accused to life imprisonment. I am pleased that the Hon’ble High Court will hear the matter as a statutory court of appeal to test the correctness of the Fast-Track Court order. I have full faith in our judicial system and the rule of law. Unfortunately, irresponsible statements are being made about my actions when all that I am doing is honoring the due process of law. Those that are innocent will be spared and the guilty will be appropriately punished.”
Sinha, while attending a function, organised by his party, the BJP, had garlanded the eight convicts, responsible for killing Alimuddin Ansari in June last year. Commentators, journalists and intellectuals had condemned Sinha for choosing to felicitate those, who’ve been convicted of killing an innocent man by a lower court of India’s judiciary.
What was even more shocking was Sinha’s educational background. Unlike many in the current government including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleague Smriti Irani, Sinha’s education qualifications are an envy to many. The son of former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, has had the privilege of studying at some of the finest educational institutions in the world. The list of reputed educational institutions Sinha has studied in includes IIT Delhi and Harvard Business School. Before becoming a full-time politician, Sinha had also worked for McKinsey & Company for 12 long years.
His clarification has evoked even more angry reactions on social media. Journalist Nikhil Waghle wrote, “Dear Mr Sinha, HC has suspended their sentence and given bail. That doesn’t mean they are innocent. Your act of felicitation not only gives them legitimacy, but tries to cover up heinous crime of lynching. Do you understand?” Journalist Srinivasan Jain asked, “Rule of law? Sir, in the eyes of the law, these men are still convicts. And yet you garland them? Amazed.”
Lawyer Sanjay Hegde spoke for millions when he asked Sinha, “Honouring those convicted of murder, who have been untimely released on bail, pending appeal, is honouring “the rule of law”.”