Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today sought support for an online petition that wants the prestigious Harvard University to drop Union Minister Jayant Sinha from its list of alumni, citing his felicitation of men convicted for beating to death a meat trader in Jharkhand. The minister had tried to explain his action in face of a barrage of criticism.
Mr Sinha was photographed last week felicitating the men, who were out on bail. The matter was seen as his lending support to the vicious trend of violence in the name of cow protection, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has strongly denounced. Among Mr Sinha's critics was his father, former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, who recently quit the BJP.
The Congress expectedly, had criticised Mr Sinha's actions in the harshest terms. Today, Mr Gandhi tagged the petition to Harvard University with a tweet that read:
If the sight of a highly educated MP & Central Minister, Jayant Sinha, garlanding & honouring criminals convicted of lynching an innocent man, fills you with disgust, click on the link & support this petition.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 10, 2018
Sign Petition:https://t.co/K9CrzHbNOz via @ChangeOrg_India
Two days ago, the Congress chief, without naming the minister, had denounced the "politics of hatred".
"The politics of hatred and communal polarisation is irreparably damaging our social fabric. The brutal lynchings across India that have sickened our nation, are the direct consequence of that kind of politics," his tweet read.
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. A local fast-track court sentenced 11 people to jail in March for the crime. The eight men got bail this year after their sentences were suspended by the high court. Days later, they were taken to meet the minister.
Mr Sinha, an IIT graduate, had attended the Harvard Business School and counts it as his alma mater. Investors had cheered when the former venture capitalist was inducted in PM Modi's ministry as the junior minister for finance. He was shifted to the aviation minister in July 2016.