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India: Chief Minister of Gujarat Stop Vilifying Mr. Mandir

India: The Chief Minister of Gujarat Stop Vilifying Mr. Harsh Mandir

New Delhi
12 June 2013

With great pride, we would like to put on record that the work of our colleague and friend Mr. Harsh Mander, for the last several years, both inside the Government as a civil servant, as well as outside the Government as a policy maker, researcher and activist has been, that of promoting in the most ethical way, non-violent ways of ensuring justice to survivors of violence due to their gender, class, caste, religious group, ethnicity or nationality. The most prominent violence, which Harsh's work has highlighted, has been the one committed on the vulnerable by both the State and Society due to their invisibility, whether they are the homeless, the destitute, and the old or street people.

It is shocking that the "aspirant PM" Narendra Modi has been targeting Harsh for the last week calling him a Maoist. Thus trying to belittle his work, rising doubts about him and vilifying his name in public. This targeting of individuals and organisations and vilifying them is not new, earlier too he had spewed venom against Syeda Hammed, Teesta Setalvad and Shabnam Hashni amongst the several and now the new whipping boys are Harsh Mander and Dr. Binayak Sen.

The hiring of Padma, a single poor woman, estranged from her husband, as a caregiver in one of the 45 Institutions for street and abandoned children run by Aman Biradari, is being twisted and used by Modi to prove that Harsh is a Maoist sympathiser. The latest spin that Harsh Mander is in any way involved with the Maoists and that he may have had anything to do at all with the abduction of Vineel Krishna, the then District Collector of Malkangiri is patently false, concocted and the figment of a very perverted imagination.

This absolutely absurd claim and false connection being made by Modi only exposes his brand of politics which is seeped, in his parent organisation the RSS from where Mr. Modi has learnt to distort facts and spread hate. His anger against Harsh also clearly goes back to the latter's work in Gujarat struggling over ten years to ensure justice to those affected by the 2002 communal genocide. It may be recalled that Harsh had left the prestigious civil services in 2002 and plunged himself in Gujarat and other parts of India in order to quell communal fire from spreading and working towards justice and rehabilitation of the survivors.

It goes without saying that this vilification of Harsh for partisan electoral politics be stopped. It is vital for all to understand that the perils of allowing such politics to take centre stage where democratic rights of people are attacked, affecting their right to work as they choose, amounts to an attack on the very basis of our country's plural existence. We hope that such politics will not be promoted by political parties and the media so that people can continue to work freely for public good.

We are,

All names are in Alphabetical order:

1. Abhay Kumar, Right to Food Campaign Karnataka
2. Akhila Sivadas, Centre for Advocacy and Research, N Delhi
3. Alaka Basu
4. Amitabh Behar
5. Amrita Chacchi, IISS, The Hague
6. Amrita Shodhan
7. Anand Chakravarti
8. Anita Ghai, IAWS
9. Ankita Agarwal, Researcher, N Delhi
10. Ankita Pandey
11. Annie Raja, National Federation for Indian Women, N Delhi
12. Anuradha Kapoor, Swayam
13. Anuradha Talwar, New Trade Union Initiative, N Delhi
14. Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People's Right to Information, NDelhi
15. Apoorvanand, Prof. University of Delhi
16. Arun Gupta and Radha Holla, Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India),
17. Arundhati Dhuru and Ulka Mahajan, National Alliance of People’s Movements,
18. Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shanker Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Rajasthan
19. Asha Mishra, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, N.Delhi
20. Ashok Bharti, National Conference of Dalit Organizations, N Delhi
21. Ashok Khandelwal, Rozi Roti Sandharbh Kendra, Rajasthan
22. Balram, Gurjeet Singh and James Herenj (Jharkhand)
23. Bhanwar Singh, Astha, Udaipur
24. Bidyut Mohanty, SPREAD, Orissa
25. Bindu Singh, Right to food Campaign, Uttar Pradesh,
26. Biraj Patnaik, Centre Equity Studies, NDelhi
27. Chingmak Chang, ECS, Nagaland
28. Clifton, Alternative law forum, Bangalore
29. Colin Gonsalves, Human Rights Law Network, Delhi
30. Dheeraj, Coordinator Right to Food Campaign, N Delhi
31. Dipa Sinha, Ph.D Scholar, JNU
32. Eklavya Vasudev
33. Farah Naqvi
34. Fr. Jothi SJ and Mr. Saradindu Biswas, Right to Food and work campaign, West Bengal
35. Gabrielle Dietrich
36. Gangabhai, Social Activist, Chhattisgarh
37. Geetanjali Gangoli
38. Gautam Bhan, IIHS
39. G V Ramanjaneyulu, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture,
40. Himanshu, Associate Professor, JNU
41. Jahnavi Andharia
42. Janaki Abraham
43. Javed Anand
44. Jaya Sharma
45. Jayasree Subramanium, TISS
46. Jean Dreze, Economist, Allahabad University
47. Jinee Lokaneeta
48. Jyotsna Siddharth
49. K.Lalita
50. Kalpana Kannabiran
51. Kamayani Bali Mahabal
52. Kavitha Kurughanti, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture
53. Kavitha Muralidaran
54. Kavita Punjabi
55. Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan
56. Ketaki Chowkhani, TISS
57. Lalita Ramdas
58. Lata P.M
59. Lyla Mehta
60. M Kodandram, Academic, Central University, Hyderabad
61. Meenu Seshu
62. Madhu Mehra
63. Madhuresh, NAPM
64. Madhuri Krishnaswamy, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan
65. Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Badwani
66. Mira Shiva, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, N Delhi
67. Mritunjay Mohanty
68. Mukta Srivastava, Anna Adhikar Abhiyan, Maharashtra
69. Neha Dhingra
70. Nishat Hussein, National Muslim Women's Welfare Society, Jaipur
71. Paul Divakar and Asha Kowtal, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights,
72. Poorva Bhardwaj, Scholar
73. Pushpa, Dharmender, Ramendra, Yogesh, Vimla and Sarita (Delhi),
74. Prof. Mohammed Hasan, Independent Scholar, Jaipur
75. Prem Krishan Sharma, PUCL, Rajasthan
76. Radha Kant Saxena, PUCL, Rajasthan
77. Radhika Desai
78. Raj Kishore Mishra, Rupantar, Orissa
79. Rama Melkote, Prof. Central University, Hyderabad
80. Ramlath Kavil
81. Rajashri Dasagupta
82. Reetika Khera, Economist, N Delhi
83. Rina Mukerji
84. Rituparna Borah
85. Rohini Hensman
86. Ruchi Gupta, NCPRI
87. Rupal Oza
88. Rupesh, Koshish, Bihar,
89. Sachin Jain, Vikas Smawad, Madhya Pradesh,
90. SAHELI, New Delhi
91. Sameer Garg, Chaupal, Chhattisgarh
92. Sadhna Arya
93. Sangeeta Chatterji
94. Saito Basumaatary, People's Rights Forum, Guwahati
95. Saumya Uma
96. Seema Kulkarni
97. Sejal Dand and Sumitra Thakkar, Anna Adhikar Suraksha Abhiyan, Gujarat
98. Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad
99. Shalini Joshi
100. Sharmila Rege
101. Sheba George
102. Shipra Nigam, Economist
103. Shraddha Chickerur
104. Soma KP
105. Soma Marik
106. Sophia Khan
107. Subhash Bhatnagar, National Campaign Committee for Unorganized Sector workers
108. Sunil Kaul, The Ant, Assam,
109. Supriya Madangarli
110. Sushil Khanna
111. Suresh Sawant, Rationing Kruti Samiti, Maharashtra,
112. Swapan Ganguly, Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samiti, WB
113. Tarun Bharatiya, Film Maker, Meghalaya,
114. Teena Gill
115. Teestha Setalwad
116. Uma Chakravarti
117. Uma Chandru, PUCL
118. V Suresh, PUCL, Tamil Nadu,
119. Vasanth Kannabiran
120. Vahida Nainar
121. Veena Shatrugna, Nutritionist expert, Hyderabad
122. Vidhya Das, Agragamee, Orissa
123. Vidya Bhushan Rawat
124. Vijay Lakshmi, RTI Manch, Rajasthan, Jaipur
125. Vinod Raina, Educationist, NDelhi
126. Vipul Mudgal, Senior Fellow, CSDS
127. Vrinda Grover, Advocate

# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

ENDS

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