Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has used the term "lynch-pujari" to suggest the way the government is being referred to by people after union minister Jayant Sinha publicly felicitated seven men convicted of killing a meat trader in the name of cow protection.
"They say your Government has become : Lynch-Pujari," Mr Sibal tweeted.
The men had walked out of jail after their punishment -- life imprisonment -- was suspended by the high court in Jharkhand and landed at the minister's home on the outskirts of Hazaribagh.
Jayant Sinha, the union minister of state for civil aviation, received heaps of criticism for the meet and greet. His father and former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, too, posted a disapproving tweet.
However, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "bail-gadi" dig on "several senior leaders of Congress who were out on bail" that set Mr Sibal off. While PM Modi's jibe on Saturday appeared to target Congress' Shashi Tharoor, who received protection from arrest in the case about his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death, Mr Sibal didn't mince his words as he "corrected" the prime minister on Twitter.
8 accused convicted for lynching are garlanded by Jayant Sinha when granted bail .
You got it wrong Modiji .
They say your Government has become :Lynch-Pujari- Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) July 8, 2018
On June 30 last year, 55-year-old Alimuddin Ansari was dragged out of his car and beaten to death in Jharkhand's Ramgarh by a mob that accused him of carrying beef. Eleven people, including a local BJP leader, were sentenced to life in jail for the murder by a fast-track court in March this year.
Eight of the 11 have been released on bail by the high court that also suspended their sentence till it decided their appeals. The court had referred to the video of the violence in which the seven men were only shown to be present in the mob. "There is no allegation of any assault against them," the judge said.
Seven of them went to the union minister's home on Tuesday and were welcomed by Mr Sinha with garlands. In the photographs that emerged later, the minister can be seen posing with them for the shutterbugs.
His political rivals have been unsparing in their attack and called his action "despicable". The Harvard-educated minister in his defence said he condemned the violence and rejected vigilantism but had "misgivings" about the court verdict.
"Unfortunately, irresponsible statements are being made about my actions when all that I am doing is honouring the due process of law," said Mr Sinha, who was never convinced with the police probe in the case and even questioned the court's verdict. The minister had also demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation investigate it.