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2-min read

What About Ministers Who Garland Culprits? Kerala FM Takes a Dig at Centre's Move to Check Lynching

Thomas Isaac’s statement is a reference to Union minister Jayant Sinha who welcomed and feted eight men convicted in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh lynching case after they were released on bail.

News18.com

Updated:July 23, 2018, 10:25 PM IST
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What About Ministers Who Garland Culprits? Kerala FM Takes a Dig at Centre's Move to Check Lynching
File photo of Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac.
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New Delhi: Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac on Monday took a dig at the Centre’s decision to set up a committee to deal with incidents of mob violence and lynching, asking what measures would be taken against ministers who "garland" those involved in such incidents.

Isaac’s statement is a reference to Union minister Jayant Sinha who welcomed and feted eight men convicted in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh lynching case after they were released on bail.

Sinha’s move of garlanding the convicts triggered a political storm, with the Opposition accusing him and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of fanning communal tensions.

The minister faced backlash from several quarters, including his father Yashwant Sinha — a former minister — who said he did not approve of his son’s actions.

While Sinha eventually expressed regret and said he rejected “any type of vigilantism”, the damage had been done.

Slamming the minister’s ‘endorsement’, Congress president Rahul Gandhi supported an online petition that sought the withdrawal of Sinha’s Harvard alumni status in the wake of the controversy.

The Congress had also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack the junior civil aviation minister immediately, else it would seem that he approved of Sinha’s act.

Several cases of lynching and mob violence have been reported from across the country in the recent past, the latest being from Rajasthan where a man was beaten to death on Friday on suspicion of cow smuggling.

In the wake of the incidents, the Centre on Monday set up a four-member committee headed by Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba to suggest measures and legal framework to effectively deal with such incidents.

The panel will submit its recommendations to a ministerial committee, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, within four weeks, the home ministry said on Monday. Apart from Singh, the group of ministers also comprises Sushma Swaraj, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Thawar Chand Gehlot.

The group of ministers will submit its findings directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but no timeline has been announced for that.

The Centre’s move has come after the Supreme Court had last week directed it to enact a law to deal with such cases. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had termed the incidents of lynching "horrendous acts of mobocracy".

The Opposition has launched a full-frontal attack on the government over the lynching incidents.

Rahul Gandhi had tweeted to target PM Modi on the incidents on Monday, saying this was his “brutal ‘New India’” where hatred rules and “people are crushed and left to die”.

Other opposition leaders too questioned the comments made by home minister Rajnath Singh in Lok Sabha on Friday when he said the biggest mob lynching happened during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

“These incidents are happening in BJP-ruled states because of political patronage,” CPI MP D Raja told CNN-News18. Raja has given a notice for adjournment in Rajya Sabha to discuss the lynching issue.

NCP leader Majid Memon said police has been asked to turn a blind eye in these incidents.

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