A day after he publicly garlanded eight people convicted of lynching a man to death over allegations of cow slaughter, Union Minister Jayant Sinha took to Twitter to ‘clarify’ his act of felicitating the men at his residence on the outskirts of Hazaribagh.

Sinha, the son of former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, said that all that he was doing was “honouring the due process of law”.

He said that he condemned all forms of violence and vigilantism and that “rule of law is supreme in our constitutional democracy” but added that he had “misgivings” about the judgment by a fast-track court which sentenced each accused to life imprisonment.

A trial court convicted all 11 people involved in the killing of Alimuddin Ansari, a meat trader, on 30 June 2017 in Ramgarh. One of those held guilty is a local BJP leader. They had dragged Ansari out of his car before beating him to death.

A Jharkhand High Court suspended the life sentences of the convicts and granted them bail following which they met Sinha.

In his tweets, Sinha, who is the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, attempted to parry the backlash from the opposition parties and leaders.

“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,” said Sinha after stating that any unlawful acts should be punished with the full force of the law.

“I have repeatedly expressed my misgivings about the fast-track court judgment 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,” he added.

 

Sinha, an MP from Hazaribagh, claimed that “irresponsible statements” are being made with regard to his action. He concluded by saying that “the innocent will be spared and the guilty will be punished”.

 

The minister later told ANI that the men came to his house after getting bail.

“When these people got bail, they came to my house, I wished them well. Let law take its own course in the future, the accused will be punished and those innocent will be set free,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

On Friday, Jharkhand’s leader of opposition Hemant Soren slammed Sinha for honouring convicts.

“This is truly despicable,” Soren wrote on Twitter while tagging Harvard University which is Sinha’s alma mater.

The attack on Ansari had come a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s condemnation of those who killed people in the name of cow.

Based on a statement by Ansari’s wife Mariam Khatoon, a fast track court gave its verdict in March sentencing the men to life in prison. Sinha had then demanded a CBI probe.

The gravity of the incident had made Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das order the police to quickly probe the case and sent it to the court.