Sack Jayant Sinha, Giriraj Singh

Sack Jayant Sinha, Giriraj Singh

New Delhi: Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha speaks during the inaugural function of PHDCCI's 2nd Aero Expo India-2017 in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo by Kamal Singh (PTI11_2_2017_000035B)

Two union ministers — minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha and minister of state for small and medium enterprises Giriraj Singh — have sent out a dangerous message of support for communal crimes and murder with their recent actions. Sinha garlanded and felicitated eight men who have been convicted by a Jharkhand court for lynching a Muslim trader, Alimuddin Ansari, in a case of cow vigilantism. Giriraj Singh went to Bihar’s Nawada jail and met and expressed solidarity with VHP and Bajrang Dal activists who have been arrested for communal violence. These were not accidental meetings but were consciously planned events meant to show that the convicted persons and the people in jail had the ministers’ support and backing. Ministers sworn to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law cannot be garlanding convicted criminals. Sinha and Singh not only deserve condemnation, but action must be taken against them.

Cases of lynching in the name of cow protection are increasing. Communal hatred, provocations and violence are also on the rise. These are all part of the increasing activities of Hindutva groups. The governments at the Centre and in the BJP-ruled states have so far taken no effective action against them. Sinha and Singh have now gone further, by giving active support to communal crimes. Sinha has dishonestly claimed that he was “committed to the due process of law” while knowingly indulging in doing exactly the opposite. Convicted persons remain convicts till they are exonerated by a higher court. Receiving them as they walked out of jail on bail and extending hospitality to them amounts to endorsing their crimes — in this instance, a murder — in public. What the two ministers have signalled through their actions to the police, officials and the people is that such crimes have official and political patronage.

The leaders of the BJP and the government have not made any comment about the ministers’ actions. The government is accountable for the actions of its ministers. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has never unambiguously condemned cow vigilantism and other communal, divisive and anti-minority actions. He has also not taken action against ministers who have acted wrongly or made provocative and objectionable statements in the past. The constitutional order and the rule of law are being increasingly undermined in the country. Leaders of the ruling party and ministers are getting more and more brazen about it. The effect is, giving political sanction to rapes as in Kathua, murders as in Jharkhand, and hate speech and violence in many places. The continuance of Jayant Sinha and Giriraj Singh in office is untenable now. They must be dismissed from government. 

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