New Delhi, July 7: Union Minister Jayant Sinha landed himself in the middle of a controversy after pictures of him felicitating the eight men convicted in Ramgarh lynching circulated on social media. The union minister welcomed the eight men at his residence after their release on bail. While some of the pictures show Jayant Sinha welcoming the lynching convicts, some showed Sinha garlanding them. Also Read - Sushma Swaraj, Maneka Gandhi, Uma Bharti: Ministers Dropped From New Modi Govt

Reacting to the pictures, Jharkhand’s leader of opposition Hemant Soren slammed the minister in a tweet and also tagged his alma mater Harvard University of the US in it. “This is despicable. Your alumnus @jayantsinha felicitating the accused in cow related lynching death in India. Is this what @Harvard stands for?” he wrote. Also Read - Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha Files Nomination Papers For Hazaribagh

While Jayant Sinha couldn’t be reached for a comment, his office said that the minister can not say anything at this point. Also Read - Odisha: BJD Government Says Union Minister Jayant Sinha Wasn't 'Properly Informed' by BJP, State Cooperates With Centre

A total of11 men, including a local BJP leader, were convicted and sentenced to life sentences in connection with the lynching of one 55-year-old Alimuddin Ansari in Ramgarh last year. The high court suspended their life sentences. They were released from the Jai Prakash Narain Central Jail and headed straight to the minister’s residence where they were garlanded and welcomed in.

“Any kind of support to such elements is deplorable. This is the true color of BJP. They just want to win election and for that their leaders can cross any limit,” Jharkhand state Congress chief Ajoy Kumar told News18 and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of fanning communal tension.

Jayant Sinha had however questioned the manner in which the investigation was going on and had even demanded a CBI inquiry. Ansari was dragged out of his car on the suspicion of him carrying beef. His car was also set on fire.