Intensifying his attack on Union Minister Jayant Sinha for felicitating convicts of Ramgarh lynching, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday supported a petition demanding the withdrawal of Sinha’s Harvard Alumni status. Sinha had completed his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard.
“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,” the Congress president tweeted. Gandhi has been critical of Sinha’s actions and had said that the politics of hatred and communal polarisation is irreparably damaging our social fabric.
The online petition was launched by one Prateek Kanwal, another Harvard alumni.
“These actions by the Minister have shocked the nation and brought disrepute to our great institution. As a responsible citizen of this country and as an Alumni of Harvard I strongly condemn these actions and ask the Harvard University to withdraw his Alumni status,” Kanwal said in the petition launched on change.org.
Kanwal wrote to Lawrence Bacow, president of Harvard University saying “Harvard’s name is being sullied in India, on account of its association with Mr Sinha.” Kanwal, urging the Harvard president to issue a statement condemning the actions by the union minister, said, “Sinha’s callous and insensitive actions, have generated tremendous anger in India.”
The petition had received 1,358 signatures, at the time of filing the report.
Controversy erupted last week after photos of Sinha felicitating eight men convicted for the lynching of cattle trader Alimuddin Ansari on June 29 last year went viral. However, clarifying his actions, Sinha had said that ‘irresponsible statements’ were being made regarding his actions as the Ranchi High Court had suspended the sentences of the accused and released them on bail. He added that he was ‘honouring the due process of law’. “I unequivocally condemn all acts of violence and reject any type of vigilantism. The rule of law is supreme in our constitutional democracy,” Sinha had tweeted.