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Friday, 16 September 2011

Swami Agnivesh says differences with Team Anna can be sorted out, denies being govt's mole

Activist Swami Agnivesh on Friday broke his silence on the allegations of him being a government mole in Team Anna until he separated from the civil society last month. He said he would like to meet Anna Hazare to clear the doubts about him.

In an interview to Headlines Today executive editor Rahul Kanwal, Agnivesh denied speaking to Union Minister Kapil Sibal on phone, as concluded by Team Anna members from a video clipping wherein he was heard talking to one "Kapilji" during Hazare's indefinite fast for a strong Lokpal at Ramlila Maidan last month.

"I was speaking to Kapilji Maharaj," Agnivesh said, denying that the person on phone was Sibal. "I arranged a meeting for Prashant Bhushan (Team Anna member) with Kapilji recently," he added.

Denying being a government mole, Agnivesh said, "I am not a mole. It doesn't behove well of Kiran Bedi to accuse me. She is a younger sister. I called Salman Khurshid at her behest."

Swami said the recording of his conversation was violation of his fundamental rights. "It was unethical to record my private conversation," he added.

Agnivesh expressed his desire to meet Hazare and clear his doubts. "We can sort out differences among ourselves. I respect Anna for his simplicity and humility. He was misinformed," he said.

Denying Hazare's warning against speaking to government representatives, Swami claimed that he had never called the Gandhian a "liar". "I tried to call Anna, but he didn't take calls. I did not call him a liar," he said.

Insisting that "one should be free to support national issues from inside or outside", Agnivesh pledged his continued support to key Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal saying, "I might continue to support Arvind Kejriwal from outside. He approached me. I joined Anna's fast in April because Arvind Kejriwal had asked me to."

However, standing by Hazare's demand for strong Lokpal, Agnivesh said, "Let us not do anything to spoil upsurge of people's power. I was very faithful during the Lokpal movement. I did nothing against it. I did not do anything against the spirit of Lokpal movement."

Refusing to "mortgage self-respect with anybody", Swami said, "It is no occasion for me to say sorry. I am very clean. I have a record of 45 years of fighting for social justice. I don't need to apologise for something for which I am not responsible. People know what standing I have."

Accusing media of pick-and-choose, he said, "Media selectively put words in my mouth."

Agnivesh stormed out of the interview refusing to answer some pointed questions on his ties with Team Anna.


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