Activists, intellectuals condemn ED searches at Harsh Mander’s premises | India News


NEW DELHI: A group of activists and intellectuals on Thursday condemned the searches by the Directorate of Law Enforcement of a human rights activist Harsh ManderState facilities, noting that the agency’s action was part of a “continuous chain of abuse by state institutions to threaten, intimidate and try to silence all critics” of the government.
In a joint statement, the group of more than 25 activists and intellectuals said that Mander, a retired IAS officer, had done nothing but work for peace and harmony.
On Thursday, the Emergency Department conducted searches of Mander’s residence and NGO offices in the Vasant Kunj, Adchini and Mehrauli areas of South Delhi in connection with a money laundering investigation, official sources said.
Mander, 66, the author of several books and newspaper editorials on topics related to social justice and human rights, left for Germany with his wife early Thursday morning.
“We condemn these raids to harass and intimidate a prominent peace and human rights activist who has done nothing but work for peace and harmony, consistently upholding the highest moral standards of honesty and probity,” the statement said.
Among those who signed the statement were former member of the Planning Commission of India, Dr. Syeda Hameed, economist Jean Dreze, Professor Apoorvanand of the University of Delhi, senior advocate Indira Jaising, the secretary general of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace Teesta Setalvad, and founder of NGO Anhad Shabnam Hashmi.
They said that over the past year, Mander and his organization, Center for Equity Studies (CES), had been subjected to continuous harassment by multiple state agencies.
“The false and malicious accusations of the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (NCPCR) were definitely refuted by the Delhi Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (DCPCR), a statutory body, which has put forward a strong affidavit at the Delhi High Court, ending the false accusations against the CES, ”they said.
The ED case is based on an FIR of the Delhi Police Economic Crimes Wing (EOW) filed in February against the CES which runs two NGOs for children.
The police report was filed under Sections 75 and 83 (2) of the Juvenile Justice Act along with Section 188 (Disobedience to a duly promulgated order by a public official) of the Indian Penal Code on the Registrar’s complaint of the NCPCR alleging violations in Umeed Aman Ghar. and Khushi Rainbow Home in South Delhi, both established by CES.
The NCPCR, the lead children’s rights body, had alleged that many violations of the Juvenile Justice Act and other irregularities were noted during the inspection by the two NGOs, including the prevalence of child sexual abuse in one of the homes.
Mander called the accusation “unjustified.”
“The CES has also been subjected to harassment by the Department of Economic Crimes and the IT department. All these retaliatory efforts combined have shown neither diversion of money nor violation of the law,” the statement said.
“The current raids by the ED and the IT department must be seen in this context, as part of a continuous chain of abuse by state institutions to threaten, intimidate and try to silence all critics of the current government,” he said.
“We are with Harsh Mander and with every person associated with the Center for Equity Studies. The Indian Constitution and the law of the country will prevail, exposing these intimidating tactics for exactly what they are: an abuse of state institutions to try to restrict all our rights, “the statement said.

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