Civil society organizations have termed Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi attack on former National Advisory Council (NAC) member Harsh Mander as "shocking" and said it "exposed" his brand of "politics of hate".
Modi had claimed last week that Mander was a Maoist, and had accused civil society activists such as planning commission member Sayeeda Hamid, Teesta Setalvad and Shabnam Hashmi of being anti-nationals.
"It is shocking that the ‘aspirant PM’ Narendra Modi has been targetting Harsh for the last week calling him a Maoist, thus trying to belittle his work, raising doubts about him and vilifying his name in public," the statement said.
They also said that hiring of Padma, a single poor woman, estranged from her husband, as a care giver 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," they said.
The activists said Modi’s anger against Harsh 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.
Mander had left the civil services in 2002 and started working in Gujarat and elsewhere, in order to quell communal fire from spreading and working towards justice and rehabilitation of the survivors.
The civil society organizations have asked Modi to immediately stop vilification of Mander, and hoped that such politics will not be promoted by political parties.