Jayant Sinha Invites Rahul Gandhi For A Live Debate, After Congress Leader's Remarks

Jayant Sinha Invites Rahul Gandhi For A Live Debate, After Congress Leader

Jayant Sinha Invites Rahul Gandhi For A Live Debate, After Congress Leader's Remarks

New Delhi: Jayant Sinha the Union minister who recently landed in a controversy for felicitating men convicted for killing a meat trader in Jharkhand, on thursday hits back at Congress boss Rahul Gandhi, for what he called, taking the criticism against him to a personal level and dared Mr Gandhi to a "live debate" on the Ramgarh lynching case. In Hindi, or English.

Mr Sinha said in a statement put out on social media, "Let him not hide behind his social media handles and practice shoot-and-scoot politics." 

The Congress boss had tweeted his support for an online petition that asked the prestigious Harvard University to drop the union minister from its list of alumni.

Mr Sinha's photograph, garlanding the men convicted for killing the 55 year old meat trader Alimuddin Ansari, were seen to support the vicious trend of violence in the name of cow protection, which was strongly denounced by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The Congress, like all other opposition parties had criticised Mr Sinha's actions in the harshest terms.

A followed up tweet by Rahul Gandhi was posted that asked people to sign a petition against the minister if the sight of the highly educated lawmaker "garlanding and honouring" convicted criminals disgusted them. In the petition he asked Harvard University to drop Mr Sinha from its list of alumni.

The minister replied to the Congress president's tweet and said that the attack had been to a personal level, condemning "my education, values and humanity".

Mr Sinha said, "I challenge him to a live debate in Hindi or English on the Ramgarh lynching case, If he thinks that my conduct is 'disgusting', then let's debate it in a civilized manner." 

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Once again, Mr Sinha's statement also explained his stance on his decision to welcome the men convicted for Alimuddin Ansari's murder in Ramgarh last year.

Last year in June, the 55 year old Alimuddin Ansari was dragged out of his car and beaten to death by a mob that accused him of carrying beef.

A local BJP leader is seen dragging the man out of the vehicle before the mob takes over, in the footage accessed by the police.

Ansari died at the hospital. 11 people were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder by a trial court, in March this year. Their appeals are pending before the high court which has suspended the sentence and released many of them on bail.

The seven men seen with the minister in photographs were among the 11.

Ramgarh murder was called "distressing and terrible" by the minister, underlining that "vigilantism is totally unacceptable".

He said, those who commit vigilantism and break the law should be fully punished. He also rebutted the perception that he sympathized with the vigilantes "because I welcomed the Ramgarh convicts at my residence".

"I did not intend, in any way, to condone vigilantism, and I sincerely regret if that's the impression I gave," he said. But Mr Sinha, who has earlier faulted the trial court's verdict, asked people to study the court documents available in public domain "to form their own independent views on this case".

"Guilt can only be established through due process because the rule of law is supreme in our country," he said. 

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