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Why Jayant Sinha's apology over garlanding members of lynch mob means nothing

What the minister could have done to avoid the embarrassment is to not have met the eight men in the first place.

 |  2-minute read |   12-07-2018
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Union minister Jayant Sinha on Wednesday, July 11, expressed regret over the recent garlanding of eight people, convicted for lynching a man to death.

But the apology makes little sense now given that Sinha first went ahead to felicitate convicted criminals and then justified it saying the matter was sub judice.

The uproar that followed Sinha's felicitating the eight men was thus justified and so was the Opposition's criticism of it.

jayant690_071218041148.jpgJayant Singh (right) offering sweets to a man convicted of lynching.

The junior aviation minister's sorry follows a petition against him which has sought withdrawal of his Harvard alumni status. The petition was subsequently supported by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Given the reach and impact of social media, it is only natural for such acts to become the talking point within no time.

A public figure, least of all a government minister, has no business trying to capitalise on such a sensitive issue that concerns life and death.

What the minister could have done to avoid the embarrassment is to not have met the eight men in the first place or apologised as soon as the incident became public.

But the worst thing that the current dispensation seems to be doing is trying to defend acts of violence in the name of cow protection and then going on to apologise once the criticism over it grows. Such repeated owning and disowning of lynch mobs can cause an irreparable damage to the party when it comes to the perception battle.

And the perception gaining ground is that there is no such thing as the fringe anymore because the so-called fringe has come to be the mainstream.

This is going to seriously harm the prospects of the ruling dispensation in the 2019 general elections. Therefore, these issues must be addressed.

The Bharatiya Janata Party must wake up now and devise a strategy to fight this perception battle.

And Jayant Sinha must understand that he can't silence criticism by issuing an apology. He must make his stand on the issue clear.

Also read: BJP spells out sales pitch: Our Harvard gowns come with the saffron goons

Writer

Arindam De Arindam De @arindamde01

The writer is journalist working with India Today.

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