Garlanding of Lynching Convicts: Former Civil Servants Seek Dismissal, Apology of Jayant Sinha

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Union Minister Jayant Sinha garlanding and offering sweets to convicts of Ramgarh lynching in Jharkhand.

Caravan News

NEW DELHI: A group of eminent former civil servants have written an open letter to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking removal or resignation of Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha for felicitating and garlanding convicts in the Ramgarh lynching case after their release from jail on bail last week. The former bureaucrats have also demanded Sinha to offer an apology for sympathizing with the convicts.

In March this year, 11 people, including a district-level BJP leader were convicted and awarded life sentence by a fast-track court in Jharkhand for their involvement in the lynching of meat trader Alimuddin Ansari in Ramgarh district of the state on 29th June last year. Eight of the convicts challenged the judgment in the Jharkhand High Court which, on 29th June this year, suspended the life sentence and ordered their release on bail. The day they were released from jail (5th July), the local BJP unit organized an event to felicitate them and Hazaribagh MP and union minister Jayant Sinha garlanded the convicts and offered them sweets at the event.

Slamming Jayant Sinha, the former bureaucrats called his action an “open challenge to the rule of law by those entrusted with its protection.”

“The latest happening at Hazaribagh has been especially shattering for our group, coming as it did from a member of the Union Council of Ministers. Those convicted of the brutal lynching last year at Ramgarh (Jharkhand) are entitled to the due process of law, including getting bail pending a decision of the High Court on their conviction. It was, however, most unseemly of the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Jayant Sinha, to felicitate the convicts as though they were some revolutionaries in a freedom struggle,” said the group of 50 retired civil servants who have written at least three letters to the government over rise in intolerance and mob lynching in the last two years.

The signatories include: Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.), Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & Ambassador to Romania; Ravi Vira Gupta IAS (Retd.), Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India; Jawhar Sircar IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & CEO, Prasar Bharati; Wajahat Habibullah IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner.

Couple of days after the garlanding of lynching convicts, another Union Minister Giriraj Singh met two VHP members in jail in Nawada district in Bihar. They were arrested for rioting and violence.

Meanwhile, a BJP Lok Sabha MP from Godda in Jharkhand, Nishikant Dubey has announced to foot the legal bill of four persons arrested and sent to jail for lynching of two Muslims in Godda in June this year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had two years back strongly condemned cow vigilantism after the Una incident of Dalit flogging, has maintained silence on the latest developments.

Full Text Of The Letter:

Our group of retired civil servants has, over the past year, drawn the attention of the powers that be, particularly the Government of India, to the promotion of an environment that encourages violence, in both word and deed. Apart from reckless utterances at election times aimed at fostering a feeling of hate and enmity in the majority community about the ‘other’, a number of other specific instances have highlighted the horrifying apathy, if not implicit support, of various governments, at the central and state levels, to vigilante violence directed against individuals of specific communities. But what has been even more mind-numbing has been the open challenge to the rule of law by those entrusted with its protection.

The latest happening at Hazaribagh has been especially shattering for our group, coming as it did from a member of the Union Council of Ministers. Those convicted of the brutal lynching last year at Ramgarh (Jharkhand) are entitled to the due process of law, including getting bail pending a decision of the High Court on their conviction. It was, however, most unseemly of the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Shri Jayant Sinha, to felicitate the convicts as though they were some revolutionaries in a freedom struggle. His subsequent feeble justifications on social media do not hold water. If he genuinely felt that the law should take its course, prudence (if not humanity) dictated that he should have been circumspect in his actions. We strongly condemn his action, which amounts to showing contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution of India, which he is duty bound to uphold.

The latest episode comes on the heels of repeated incidents which highlight the contempt which representatives of the ruling party and their followers have for the rule of law. Whether it is the act of a Union Minister draping the body of a riot accused in the national tricolour, the instigation by ruling party ministers of Jammu & Kashmir in the Kathua rape case or the efforts to subvert due process of law in the brutal Rajsamand murder case, all such cases only indicate a majoritarian mindset that believes it is entitled to use the law to meet its own narrow ends. The larger and chilling message that Shri Sinha’s action sends out is that there is a license to kill minorities and that those who are accused of such crimes will be enthusiastically supported financially, legally and politically.

In the past, when there were protests against partisan support for such revolting actions, the central government conveniently used the fig leaf of constitutional separation of powers to argue that the locus standi lay with the concerned states, despite most of these states being ruled by the same party which was in power at the centre. Now that a Union Minister has openly questioned a criminal case where his own party government in the state had, admirably in our opinion, prosecuted and brought to justice the accused, we would like to know what stand the Government of India proposes to take.

We demand the immediate resignation/removal of Shri Jayant Sinha from the Union Council of Ministers and an apology to the people of India from the party he represents for brazenly sympathizing with those convicted of murder. We also urge our colleagues in the civil services to firmly adhere to the rule of law and not be intimidated by the actions of powerful and influential groups which seek to spread the poison of disharmony and enmity in our multicultural society.

  1. Salahuddin Ahmad IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
  2. G. Balachandhran IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
  3. Vappala Balachandran IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
  4. Gopalan Balagopal IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
  5. Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
  6. Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
  7. Meeran C Borwankar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
  8. Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
  9. Kalyani Chaudhuri IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
  10. Anna Dani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
  11. Vibha Puri Das IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
  12. Nareshwar Dayal IFS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
  13. Keshav Desiraju IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI
  14. M.G. Devasahayam IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
  15. Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Sweden
  16. Tuktuk Ghosh IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping & Tourism, GoI
  17. Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
  18. Ravi Vira Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
  19. Wajahat Habibullah IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
  20. Sajjad Hassan IAS (Retd.) Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
  21. Dr. M.A. Ibrahimi IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary (rank), Govt. of Bihar
  22. Kamal Jaswal IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
  23. Ajai Kumar Indian Forest Service (Retd.), Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
  24. Arun Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI
  25. Brijesh Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
  26. Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.) Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
  27. Lalit Mathur IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, National Institute of Rural Development, GoI
  28. Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
  29. Sonalini Mirchandani IFS (Resigned) GoI
  30. Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Nepal
  31. Nagalswamy IA&AS (Retd.) Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
  32. Sobha Nambisan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Secretary (Planning), Govt. of Karnataka
  33. Amitabha Pande IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
  34. Niranjan Pant IA&AS (Retd.) Former Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General of India
  35. Alok Perti IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
  36. T.R. Raghunandan IAS (Retd.) Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI
  37. N.K. Raghupathy IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
  38. M.Y. Rao IAS (Retd.)
  39. Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.) Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & Ambassador to Romania
  40. Aruna Roy IAS (Resigned)
  41. Manabendra N. Roy IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
  42. Deepak Sanan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
  43. Umrao Salodia IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Rajasthan Road Transport Corporation, Govt. of Rajasthan
  44. N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
  45. Ardhendu Sen IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
  46. Abhijit Sengupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
  47. Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Japan
  48. Raju Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
  49. Jawhar Sircar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & CEO, Prasar Bharati
  50. Ramani Venkatesan IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra

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