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Friday, October 22, 2021

Activists, intellectuals condemn ED raids at Harsh Mander’s office, home

A statement said, “We condemn these raids to harass and intimidate a leading human rights and peace activist who has done nothing but work for peace and harmony, consistently upholding the highest moral standards of honesty and probity.”

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: September 17, 2021 7:21:22 am
Harsh Mander, Harsh Mander childre homes, NCPCR Harsh Mander, Harsh Mander child homes raid, delhi city newsSocial activist Harsh Mander's (right) residence, office, children’s home raided by ED. (File Photo)

Several activists and public intellectuals Thursday condemned the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids carried out at multiple locations in the city connected to retired IAS officer and activist Harsh Mander. They said the raids were a part of a “continuing chain of abuse of state institutions” to silence its critics.

The 29 persons who signed the statement include activist Aruna Roy, former Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed, Economist Jean Dreze, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, DU Professor Apoorvanand, women’s activists Kavita Krishnan and Annie Raja among others. The statement is being circulated for more endorsements even now.

“This morning, September 16, 2021, officers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids at the offices of the Centre of Equity Studies (CES) Delhi, headed by Harsh Mander. They also raided his private home in Vasant Kunj. The Income Tax (IT) department has simultaneously raided one of the children’s shelter homes run by an allied institution – Ummeed Aman Ghar in Mehrauli. More details are awaited, as these raids are on-going. Mr Mander is currently in Berlin, Germany at the invitation of the Robert Bosch Academy to join them for the prestigious Richard Von Weizsacker Fellowship,” they said.

“We condemn these raids to harass and intimidate a leading human rights and peace activist who has done nothing but work for peace and harmony, consistently upholding the highest moral standards of honesty and probity. Over the past year, Harsh Mander and the CES have been subjected to continued harassment by multiple state agencies,” they said.

The signatories said the “false and malicious allegations by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)” were “definitively countered by the Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), a statutory body, which has filed a strong affidavit in the Delhi High Court, putting an end to the false allegations against CES”.

The NCPCR had alleged irregularities of many kinds in the children’s homes, including allegations of sexual abuse and taking the children to protest sites.

“CES has also been subjected to harassment by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), and the IT department. All these vindictive efforts combined, have shown neither diversion of money nor any violation of the law. The current raids by the ED and IT department are to be viewed in this context, as part of a continuing chain of abuse of state institutions to threaten, intimidate and try to silence every critic of the present government,” the signatories said.

“We stand with Harsh Mander and with each person associated with the Centre for Equity Studies. The Constitution of India and the law of the land shall prevail, exposing these intimidatory tactics exactly for what they are – an abuse of state institutions to try and curtail all our rights,” they said.

Here’s a list of most of the signatories

  1. Aruna Roy, MKSS
  2. Dr. Syeda Hameed, former member, Planning Commission of India
  3. Prof Jean Dreze, Economist
  4. Prof. Apoorvanand, Teacher
  5. Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate
  6. Dr. V Suresh, PUCL, General Secretary
  7. Ravi Kiran Jain, President PUCL
  8. Henri Tiphagne, People’s Watch
  9. Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA General Secretary
  10. Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate and PUCL
  11. Teesta Setalvad, CJP
  12. Nav Sharan Singh, Independent Researcher
  13. Anuradha Talwar, PBKMS
  14. Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad
  15. Annie Raja, General Secretary, NFIW
  16. Farah Naqvi, Writer
  17. Avinash, Human Rights Worker
  18. Nikhil Dey, MKSS
  19. Shanker Singh, MKSS
  20. Purwa Bharadwaj, Writer and trainer, Independent
  21. Gauhar Raza, Film Maker
  22. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, National Secretary
  23. Lara Jesani, PUCL, Maharashtra
  24. Nadeem Khan, UAH
  25. Brinelle D’Souza, Teacher
  26. Father Cedric Prakash, Human Rights Worker

(This list is being endorsed in order to get more signatures)

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