Jharkhand lynching convicts’ case will be ‘re-heard’: Jayant Sinha’s defence in garlanding row

New Delhi: After landing into a major political controversy by felicitating eight men convicted for killing a meat trader last year in Jharkhand, Union Minister Jayant Sinha on Saturday came out with his justification for the same.

In his defence, Sinha said that the Ranchi High Court has suspended the sentence of the accused and released them on bail.

The Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation took to Twitter and said, “In the Ramgarh case (mob lynching), the 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.”

He went on to say that he has full faith in the judiciary and that those who are innocent would be spared while the guilty would be appropriately punished.

“I have full faith in our judiciary and rule of law. Unfortunately, irresponsible statements are being made about my actions when all that I am doing is honoring due process of law. Those that are innocent will be spared and guilty will be appropriately punished,” he said.

“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,” Sinha added.

Earlier on Friday, Sinha, who represents the Hazaribagh seat in Lok Sabha, felicitated eight men convicted for killing a meat trader in Jharkhand last year.

The controversy erupted after the picture, which shows the Union Minister garlanding the convicts in the Ramgarh lynching case in Jharkhand at his residence in Hazaribagh, went viral.

The viral picture drew criticism from leaders like Jharkhand’s leader of opposition Hemant Soren and Ajoy Kumar of the Congress.

Tagging the minister’s alma mater, the prestigious Harvard University of the US, Soren tweeted, “ This is truly despicable. @Harvard Your alumnus @jayantsinha felicitating the accused in cow related lynching death in India. Is this what @Harvard stands for?”

The Congress leader Ajoy Kumar expressed his shock at Sinha, who he said was considered “among the most educated minister in PM Modi’s cabinet, “openly” supporting people convicted for killing an innocent.

“Do they have no work to show except playing politics on dead bodies and dividing society?” he said in an attack on the BJP.

A Ramgarh Court had sentenced the 11 accused, in connection with the Alimuddin murder case in Ramgarh district to a lifetime in prison.

Alimuddin, also known as Asgar Ansari, was intercepted by a mob and beaten to death in June 2017 over suspicions of transporting beef in his vehicle near Bazartand village. The mob later set the vehicle ablaze.

Following the lynching incident, section 144 was imposed in Ramgarh.

Not the first time for Sinha

  • This isn’t the first time that Sinha has been seen to be associating himself with the accused in this case.
  • After the court convicted the 11 people in March,  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.

(With inputs from ANI)