BJP’s Giriraj Singh stokes controversy by visiting riot-accused leaders in jail

Patna: Giriraj Singh became the second Union Minister to land into controversy, for being associated with accused in major crimes.

Singh on Saturday visited the jailed right-wing leaders, who are under trial in riot cases in Bihar’s Nawada. This incident comes after his cabinet colleague Jayant Sinha was photographed felicitating eight men held guilty of killing a meat trader in the name of cow protection in neighbouring Jharkhand.

He also met the family of an accused of clashes in Nawada that took place after an idol was vandalised in March.

“They’ve always helped maintain peace in all situations. How can you call them rioters? The administration should see if they really incited violence,” he said.

Following the Ram Navmi clashes of April 2017, the police filed cases against some leaders in several districts.

VHP’s Kailash Vishwakarma and Bajrang Dal’s Jitendra Pratap were arrested four days ago for their alleged role in the clashes.

The BJP has already expressed its displeasure over the arrests of the leaders in connection to the violence that started in April 2017 after religious posters were found torn.

After his visit, Singh targeted Nitish Kumar government, accusing it of witch-hunt.

“It seems to have been ingrained in the administration and government that there can only be communal harmony if Hindus are oppressed and it is unfortunate. I appeal to the administration and the society that they forget this view,” he added.

Jayant Sinha has been battling a controversy after photographs emerged last week that showed him garlanding men who received life sentences for the murder of a 55-year-old meat trader in June last year. The men were taken to meet Mr Sinha after their sentences were suspended and they were released on bail.

Mr Sinha, who has since been under an unsparing opposition attack, said he condemns violence and rejects vigilantism, but has “misgivings” about the fast-track court verdict.