Jayant Sinha garlands 8 lynching convicts: BJP's silence on act of bad faith, bad taste shows rule of law in danger

One would be hard-pressed to figure out exactly what Union minister Jayant Sinha was celebrating when he garlanded eight men convicted of hacking to death cattle trader Alimuddin Ansari last June in Hazaribagh.

 Jayant Sinha garlands 8 lynching convicts: BJPs silence on act of bad faith, bad taste shows rule of law in danger

Union minister Jayant Sinha poses for a picture with the convicts. Image courtesy: News18

The man was suspected to be dealing in beef. The lower court sentenced all the convicts to life imprisonment and since the higher court suspended this sentence, they were released on bail. These men went straight from jail to the minister’s house where the dew-speckled marigold necklaces were waiting.

So far, so fine. While the men could have had a sense of relief that they were being given a second chance to prove their innocence in court, their conditional release is hardly cause for celebration. After all, the lower court rendered a guilty verdict.

In India, the garland is used to curry favour with the high and mighty, pump sycophantic sunshine into VIPs, propitiate the gods and serve as a symbol of our traditional hospitality. It is also commissioned to recognise great achievement in the arts, sciences and sport. It is difficult to see what these eight men have achieved apart from a temporary legal reprieve. It is hardly as if they won gold at the Olympics.

Since Jayant represents Hazaribagh, where this dastardly killing took place, it is clear that the garlanding was done with a political agenda directed at being projected as a hero to the majority populace. When a minister representing the Centre engages in an act so foul and provocative and deliberately causes religious fissures, does it not come under Section 295A which relates to deliberate and malicious acts intending to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs?

Any way you look at it, the garlanding ceremony followed by tea and biscuits arranged with such alacrity and immediacy that these eight did not even go home first seems to have gone way beyond the scope of the IPC which unequivocally states: Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Cartoon by Manjul

Cartoon by Manjul

Yet, besides the standard yelps of protest from the Opposition parties and even daddy and veteran politician Yashwant Sinha saying ‘naughty, naughty’ there seems to be no action taken against the man for acting in bad faith and rank bad taste. The most worrying part is that he is not a party worker gone astray. Jayant is a minister of state and he supposedly represents all the people of Jharkand’s Hazaribagh constituency, all of which positions he has misused.

Why is the BJP frontline not appalled by this conduct? Not just the BJP but the whole nation should be outraged. There was just no call for it and when men and women in positions of responsibility act irresponsibly and are allowed to do so then you know the rule of law is in danger.

Updated Date: Jul 08, 2018 19:45:45 IST