Union minister Jayant Sinha has stoked a controversy as he felicitated eight convicts in the Ramgarh lynching case after they came out of prison on bail, with opposition on Saturday attacking him for the "despicable" act.
Expressing happiness over their release from jail after being granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court recently, Sinha garlanded them on Friday and offered them sweets.
The minister of state for civil aviation also advised them to "have faith in the judiciary", saying the courts will do justice.
Sinha said he was very happy to see them as they belonged to his constituency and it was his duty to provide them justice.
The eight convicts thanked Sinha for helping them get a lawyer who took their case to the high court.
In his reaction, Leader of Opposition and JMM MLA Hemant Soren tweeted, "This is truly despicable."
In his defence, Jayant Sinha on Saturday said the law will take its own course in Ramgarh lynching case and the accused will be punished.
Speaking to ANI, the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation said, "When these people got bail, they came to my house; I wished them well. Let the law take its own course in the future, the accused will be punished and those innocent will be set free."
Sinha reiterated that he is a public representative, and has taken an oath to protect the law.
He further asserted that the accused in the case should be punished as no one has the right to take law into their hands.
"I have already clarified my stand. The accused should be punished. I am a public representative and a minister; I have taken an oath to protect the law. No one has the right to take law in their hands," Sinha said.
Meanwhile, without mentioning any particular incident, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on twitter, "The politics of hatred and communal polarisation is irreparably damaging our social fabric."
He said, "The brutal lynchings across India that have sickened our nation, are the direct consequence of that kind of politics."
The politics of hatred and communal polarisation is irreparably damaging our social fabric.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 7, 2018
The brutal lynchings across India that have sickened our nation, are the direct consequence of that kind of politics.
Sinha also came under attack by his father and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha who said on Twitter, "Earlier I was the nalayak baap (unworthy father) of a layak beta (worthy son). Now the roles are reversed. That is twitter. I do not approve of my son's action. But I know even this will lead to further abuse. You can never win."
Earlier I was the Nalayak Baap of a Layak Beta. Now the roles are reversed. That is twitter. I do not approve of my son's action. But I know even this will lead to further abuse. You can never win.— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) July 7, 2018
Meat trader Alimuddin Ansari was beaten to death on June 29 last year by a mob at the Bazaar Tand area under Ramgarh police station on the suspicion that he was carrying beef in his car.
A fast-track court on March 21 sentenced the 11 convicts to life imprisonment.
Eight of the 11 convicts were granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court on June 29. Two are still in the Hazaribagh Central Jail while one juvenile is lodged in a correction home. Another secured bail on July 4.