RANCHI: Condemning all acts of violence and vigilantism, Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Saturday sought to explain why he had felicitated lynching convicts at his residence in Hazaribagh. He said they had come to meet him after getting bail from the High Court and he had simply greeted them as the member of Parliament from the region. Speaking to a television news channel, Sinha said that those who were guilty would be punished, but at the same time the innocent would be spared. On Friday, Sinha was caught on camera felicitating eight persons convicted of lynching Alimuddin Ansari in Ramgarh.
They were released on Tuesday after being granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court. “After getting bail from the High Court, they had come to my residence to meet me and I greeted them. The law will take its own course; those who are guilty will be punished and those who are innocent will be spared,” Sinha was quoted as saying. He condemned what had happened in the case of Ansari. “Any kind of vigilantism, being done by anybody, is wrong. Rule of law, which is paramount in our Constitution, must be secured at any cost,” Sinha said. He said he had cleared his stand on the issue on Twitter.
Earlier, Sinha had come out in support of the eight persons after their conviction by a fast track court in Ramgarh, saying that the best advocates would be engaged to fight their legal battle. Sinha had attracted all-round criticism for his actions and the leader of Opposition and JMM Executive President Hemant Soren had condemned him on Twitter and tagged the Union minister’s alma mater, saying, “Is this what Harvard stands for?” Meanwhile, former Congress state unit president Sukhdeo Bhagat called Sinha’s action shameful, particularly since he was a Union minister.
“It is really a disgraceful act by the Union minister which must be condemned by everyone. It is nothing but an effort to give a communal angle to the incident,” said Bhagat. Eight of the 11 persons sentenced to life imprisonment by a Ramgarh Court for lynching Alimuddin Ansari a year ago were granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court on June 29 on the grounds of there being no substantial evidence against them. Ansari, 55, a meat trader was lynched by a mob of more than 100 cow vigilantes in Ramgarh on suspicion of carrying beef in his car on June 29, 2017. The mob also set his car on fire.