The nation has been transfixed these past few days by the story of Union minister Jayant Sinha, son of former minister Yashwant Sinha, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, a party dedicated to the idea of eradicating dynasties. On Friday, Jayant Sinha garlanded eight convicted murderers in a public ceremony. The eight men had been found guilty in March of lynching a cattle trader in Jharkhand last year, but the Jharkhand High Court had on June 29 suspended their life sentences and granted them bail.

Many people have been critical. Sadly, we were unable to procure an interview with either father or son. However, we discovered that Sinha’s actions are quite common practice, and were fortunate to find another politician who had also garlanded a group of murderers. After we agreed not to reveal his name, he was happy to give us an interview.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

So does this mean you are married now?
Not at all. None of them garlanded me in return. I was quite surprised. As a minister, I expect to be garlanded. But it is okay. In any case it would have been polygamy, which I do not support.

People are saying it is wrong to felicitate murderers. Do you agree?
As a minister, I have to take a wider view. I am not just the minister for a select few. For too long, this country has been unnecessarily prejudiced against criminals. Are they not human? Have they no feelings? When they watch Karan Johar movies, do they not cry? They are also part of the national fabric. We dream of a more inclusive society.

But some are objecting to open support for murderers.

Would you prefer closed support for murderers? What about the perpetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots? Besides, it is too late to discuss this. The public has been supporting them for several decades now. Over 20% of our MPs have been accused of serious crimes, such as murder, kidnap and rape. My own party is showing the way with a higher percentage of such candidates than even the Samajwadi Party. Luckily, the law is taking its own course.

When you say “taking its own course” …
Things are being done properly. In most cases, the police are still investigating. In a few cases, by mistake, the cases have entered the lower courts, but these courts are being very thorough. These things take time. Usually, enough time for the MP in question to rule for five or six terms, and then pass away and give his seat to his wife or son. Or daughter, if the son is on drugs.

But in your case, the criminals were convicted in a court of law…
That is my point. This was complete injustice. How could the police complete the investigation so quickly? The court also acted with indecent haste. When our MPs and ministers are being treated so well, why such partiality in the case of these boys? This is very short-term thinking. What about the future? They are destroying our talent pool. Where will our ministers come from? The boys were feeling unnecessarily victimised. I had to do something to raise their morale.

Do you have any preferences among the lynchers? Which of them looks like a front-runner?
Again, you are being partial. Nothing like that. All of them are very promising. It was a victory for teamwork. With proper diet and the right training facilities, they can achieve wonders.

Will you be supporting them in their future efforts?
The first step is to encourage them, which I have done. Now the good work has to be continued. I have asked our workers at the block and tehsil level to make arrangements for such garlanding at least once a month. Funds will be provided to purchase the garlands.

Are there any other motivational initiatives in the pipeline?
More than motivation, they need skill development. The ministries are creating training programmes. For example, we will teach them how to pour kerosene without splashing it on themselves. You have to swing your arms and step back very quickly. Also, it is best to keep matchboxes in a polythene packet, to avoid dampness. Otherwise, at the critical moment, you may have to borrow from others, which can be humiliating. It is the little things that matter.

Some black-tongued evildoers are questioning how garlanding convicted murderers can “honour the process of law”. What is your response?
It is so simple. Whenever we publicise a convicted murderer, we are showing the people that the legal system works. It should give them more confidence. Man commits murder. Man is convicted. Man is garlanded. Eventually, man becomes minister. There is a process at work, and the public can see it. It is all very transparent.

Do you see this as a national initiative?
Only in states where the election is looking tricky.

Will you be garlanding only lynchers, or all types of criminals?
Certainly not. I am shocked by your suggestion. Convicted criminals working for Opposition parties will receive no support from me.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Just that they should work hard, think the right thoughts, and keep paying GST. Each of them should adopt one cow. However, whenever they transport the cow from one point to another, they should ensure that they have all the required papers. Ideally, the cow should not be moved too much. Ideologically, we very much support cows but are opposed to their movement. It upsets their stomachs.

Thank you. Please convey my regards to bhabi-ji.
Of course.