Delhi

Govt. using NCPCR to defame me: Harsh Mander

Activist and former IAS officer Harsh Mander said on Thursday that the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had raided two children’s homes in Delhi that he had been associated with in the past with the main aim of finding out if any of the residents had participated in the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Mr. Mander said the NCPCR raid on Thursday at Ummeed Aman Ghar and Khushi Rainbow Home was led by the NCPCR chairperson.

Anti-CAA protests

“I am no longer formally associated with these homes... I visit them [the children] when I can, to assure myself about their welfare, speak to them about the world and leading a good life, and sing songs together. The NCPCR team in its ‘raids’ on the two homes had four central focuses. The most important was whether the children participated in the anti-CAA protests. The second focus was about my association with the homes,” he said in a statement.

The other focuses of the raid was also to find out if there was any foreign funding and if any Rohingya children were living at the homes, he alleged. “As it happens, Ummeed is entirely funded from Indian donors. Khushi also is largely supported by Indian donors, but has some foreign donors as well. The fourth question was whether we had given shelter to any Rohingya children. My colleagues said that for us, we don’t focus on the identity of any child; the only thing important for us is that she or he is homeless and in need of care and protection,” he said.

Mr. Mander said the Centre was using its agencies to carry out a campaign against those who participated in the anti-CAA protests from December 2019 till March this year. “It has been made amply clear by the actions of the state machinery that I am one of those targeted,” he said.

He said the NCPCR had been used by the government to defame him and advance its campaign against protesters and dissenters.

“The NCPCR is India’s apex body for child rights, and is well within its rights to enquire about the welfare of children in any context. But the timing, mode and questions raised by them are unconventional and raise doubts about the motivation of the agency, whether it will be just one more willing tool for the witch-hunt that is ongoing against independent dissenters in India today,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 12:43:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/govt-using-ncpcr-to-defame-me-harsh-mander/article32747975.ece

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