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Agnivesh speaks about being the 'villain' in Hazare's movement

September 16, 2011 17:09 IST

Social activist Swamy Agnivesh on Friday expressed regret about being seen as a "villain" for voicing differences on the manner in which anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's fast was carried out in its concluding phase.

"I was looked upon like a villain. This is not the first time I voiced my differences about the way the movement was carried on," said Agnivesh.

But he said he would continue supporting Hazare's movement without compromising on his views and his right to dissent. This was a movement that inspired people, especially youth, after the Jayaprakash Narayan-led movement in the 1970s, he said.

Swami Agnivesh said he had opposed Hazare's plan to fast from the beginning and also questioned the decision to start it on August 16, the day the Lokpal bill was to be taken up by Parliament.

He said Hazare should have called it off when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged him to do so from Parliament.

"I thought that was the golden moment for Anna to end the fast," Swami Agnivesh said.

Agnivesh replied in the affirmative when asked if Anna was persuaded to continue his fast by a "coterie" close to him.

He wanted Team Anna to ponder why the movement failed to ensure due participation of Dalits and minorities.

On the controversy over his telephonic talks with one Kapil when Hazare's fast was going on, he said "this Kapil is not Kapil Sibal or Kapilmuni of Hardwar," but somebody who to a certain extent represented the government's view on the Lokpal issue.

Swami Agnivesh said he had asked Team Anna to take a note of his dissent on these lines when the core committee met.

Agnivesh criticised Home Minister Chidambaram's statement that Naxalism was a bigger threat than terrorism, saying, "This amounts to downplaying the terror of terrorism and evading responsibility."

He said he believed that Naxalism could be solved through dialogue with marginalised people like tribals.

On terrorism, he said all political parties in India should condemn it in one voice. "Unfortunately, this has not happened and the Opposition has shown a tendency to milk political mileage after every terror attack," she said.

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