Civil society stands in solidarity with Harsh Mander, CES

Leading activists, writers, lawyers, economists, teachers, filmmakers and intellectuals condemned the Enforcement Directorate raids on Harsh Mander


Leading activists, writers, lawyers, economists, teachers, filmmakers and intellectuals have strongly condemned the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids on well known human rights activist and former IAS officer Harsh Mander’s home and offices on September 16. Their statement, which continues to gather scores of endorsements, has condemned the rains and stated it was done “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.” 

The raids are reportedly on-going, but the public statement confirmed that 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.” The raids were conducted just hours after Mander left for Berlin, Germany at the invitation of the Robert Bosch Academy to join them for the prestigious Richard Von Weizsacker Fellowship. The Robert Bosch Academy, founded in 2014 as an institution of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, offers international decision-makers, opinion leaders, and experts the opportunity for solution-oriented cooperation on issues of global relevance, added the statement.  

Civil society recalled in their statement that “over the past year, Harsh Mander and the CES have been subjected to continued harassment by multiple state agencies. 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.” They added that the “CES has also been subjected to harassment by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), and the IT department. All these vindictive efforts combined, have showed 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 have reiterated that they “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.” 

The statement that has so far been signed by Aruna Roy, MKSS, Dr. Syeda Hameed, former member, Planning Commission of India,  Prof Jean Dreze, Economist, Prof. Apoorvanand, Teacher,  Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, Dr. V Suresh, PUCL, General Secretary, Henri Tiphagne, People’s Watch, Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA General Secretary, Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate and PUCL, Teesta Setalvad, CJP, Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad, Annie Raja, General Secretary, NFIW, Farah Naqvi, Writer,  Nikhil Dey, MKSS, Gauhar Raza, Film Maker, Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, National Secretary,Lara Jesani, PUCL, Maharashtra,Mohammed Nadeem, UAH,  Brinelle D’Souza, Teacher, Father Cedric Prakash, Human Rights Worker, Anand Grover, Senior Advocate and many others.

Centre for Equity Studies issues statement

The Centre for Equity Studies (CES), called the ongoing Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids at its office as well as of the Children’s Home named Umeed Ghar, and at Harsh Mander’s residence a “continuation of harassment and coercion of CES and Harsh Mander for being an outspoken and passionate defender of human rights.”

The CES board released a press statement saying that “over the last several months, the organization has been subjected to raids, investigations, and inquiries by different government agencies including Delhi police, and NCPCR.” The CES stated that it has cooperated with every government agency and provided “all organisational details requested by the agencies including balance sheets and other financial and programmatic documents” adding that the “organisational documents and records have been submitted more than once to the government agencies.”  The CES stated that it is “committed to cooperating with the ongoing raid and will provide any information needed by the ED” but noted that it was “deeply distressing for the entire team of CES and this continued harassment has created hurdles in the path of our organisational vision of working for the poorest of the poor and most marginalized sections of society.”



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