Team Anna accuses Open magazine of spreading untruths

India Against Corruption (IAC), the coalition of activists that led the Jan Lokpal bill agitation last year, has rebutted claims of Open magazine, one of the first to try to debunk the larger-than-life image of Anna Hazare last year.

In an official statement, the IAC gave a point-by-point rebuttal of the claims of the latest article critiquing the movement from Open, one of a series attacking the credibility and intentions of the movement since Anna shot into prominence in August last year.

“The magazine claimed that our public meeting at Barabanki was coordinated by Rakesh Kumar Premil, who is a RSS associate,” the IAC said, adding that Premil did not coordinate the meeting.

It was, it pointed out, coordinated by someone called Dr Sajjan Lal Verma. IAC, however, agreed that Rakesh Kumar Premil was part of the organizing team. However, it said, “Premil has no association with the RSS or the BJP.”

“The correspondent also claimed that Premil was assisted by some Ram Kumar Yadav, a local quack who was also the president of the Fatehpur unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, the farmers’ wing of the RSS… we don’t know any Ram Kumar Yadav, as mentioned by the reporter,” it said.

It also gave a description of other coordinators, to rebut the claims of Open, edited by Manu Joseph, that the rallies were organized by RSS people.

“Gonda (meeting) coordinator Dilip Shukla is a lecturer at Lal Bahadur Degree College, Gonda. The coordinator of Faizabad rally was Gopal Krishna and he is well known for his criticism for any political party specially BJP,” IAC said.

IAC accused the Open of trying to defame the movement. “To our surprise, the reporter didn’t even bother to take the versions on his story from members of Team Anna, and did a predetermined story,” it said.

“Although we appreciate any constructive criticism, but the way this news report is carried without any fact, is regrettable,” it said.

Manu Joseph, the editor of Open, has been one of Anna’s most vocal critics, titling his latest New York Times article on the movement “Indian Revolution Born in Farce Ends in One.”