Ranchi: Union minister Jayant Sinha welcomed and feted eight men convicted in the Ramgarh lynching case in Jharkhand after they were released on bail on Thursday, triggering a political storm as the opposition accused him and the BJP of fanning communal tensions deliberately.
The life sentences handed to the eight men, including BJP functionary, was suspended by the high court and they walked out of the Jai Prakash Narain Central Jail and headed straight to the residence of Sinha, where the minister garlanded them. The convicts were led by local BJP leader Amardeep Yadav, who is also the OBC Morcha president of the party.
Lashing out at the minister, Former Jharkhand CM and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren told News18 that it was a very sensitive issue and what Sinha did was absolutely unbecoming of a union minister.
Jharkhand state Congress Chief Ajoy Kumar accused BJP of fanning communal sentiments as the Raghubar Das government in the state and Narendra Modi government at the Centre failed to deliver on their promises.
“Any kind of support to such elements is deplorable. This is the true color of BJP. They just want to win election and for that their leaders can cross any limit,” Ajoy Kumar told News18.
A mob of more than 100 cow vigilantes had on June 27 last year hacked cattle trader Alimuddin Ansari to death in broad daylight in Ramgarh area of Hazaribagh ditrict. Sinha represents the Hazaribagh seat in Lok Sabha.
The gruesome lynching had shook the nation and the case was handed over to a fast-track court, which on March 21 this year completed the hearing in a record five months and sentenced eleven accused to life imprisonment.
However, Jayant Sinha had questioned the manner in which the police investigated the case and demanded a CBI inquiry in April this year.
All accused went to the Jharkhand High Court from where eight of them got bail on June 29, exactly a year after the incident.
Justifying the welcome accorded to the convicts, Amardeep Yadav said that Sinha always believed that they were innocents and framed in the case. “That’s why he provided legal and monetary assistance to them in his personal capacity. There is nothing wrong in supporting innocent people.”
Referring to the three other convicts, he expressed hope that they too would get bail from the High Court as necessary paper works were under way. “Jayant Sinha personally examined the papers related to the case and interacted with lawyers”, he claimed.
News18 tried to contact Jayant Sinha but his office responded saying he was busy at a programme and was unavailable for comments.