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Over 600 eminent personalities condemn ED's raids at Harsh Mander's premises

Over 600 eminent personalities condemn EDs raids at Harsh Manders premises

New Delhi: Over 600 eminent personalities including academics, journalists, filmmakers, activists and lawyers on Thursday came out in support of human rights activist Harsh Mander following the Enforcement Directorate's raids on his premises.

The personalities in a joint statement alleged that the raid should be seen as part of the Centre's use of government institutions to "threaten, intimidate and silence" its critics.

"We condemn these raids to harass and intimidate leading human rights and peace activists who have done nothing but work for peace and harmony, consistently upholding the highest moral standards of honesty and probity," they said in the statement.

The signatories, including historian Rajmohan Gandhi, advocate Prashant Bhushan and Indira Jaising, activist Medha Patkar and economist Jean Dreze, have said in the statement that Mr Mander and the Centre for Equity Studies he heads has been "subjected to continued harassment by multiple state agencies" over the past year.

"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 statement says.

Earlier on Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate conducted raids at Mander's home in Delhi's Vasant Kunj area, his office in the Centre for Equity Studies at the city's Sarvodaya Enclave locality, and Umeed, a children's home that his organisation runs in the Mehrauli neighbourhood.

The raids are connected to a money-laundering probe based on an FIR filed by the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police in February this year.

The Delhi Police FIR, filed under instruction from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has alleged financial irregularities connected to the two children's homes - Umeed Aman Ghar (for boys) and Khushi Rainbow Home (for girls) - in Delhi's Mehrauli.

As all three are 'scheduled offences', meaning the agency can take cognisance of the FIR and probe proceeds of the alleged crime linked to the FIR registered by Delhi Police.

The raids were carried out hours after Mr Mander and his wife had left for Germany where he has taken up a six-month fellowship at the Robert Bosch Academy.

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TAGS:Harsh mander Enforcement Directorate 
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