The many faces of Team Anna
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Akhil Gogoi, 34, of Assam is a crusader against corruption who has filed over 1,000 RTI applications so far. He has raked up so many issues in Assam that a frustrated state government called him a Maoist. He won the Shanmugam Manjunath Integrity Award in 2008 for uncovering large-scale misuse of funds meant for Central schemes in Assam, followed by the national RTI Award given by the Public Cause Research Foundation in 2010. He donated he cash that came with both these awards to the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, a peasants' body of which he is the secretary. He has also been leading a movement against mega dams in Arunachal Pradesh. In 2010, he was among the winners of CNN-IBN's Young Indian Leaders of the Year awards.
Manish Sisodia is a journalist-turned-RTI activist fighting against corruption. He was working with Zee News before plunging into the RTI movement ful-time. Sisodia and Arvind Kejriwal opened the NGO Parivartan in 2000 and are trustees of the Public Cause Research Foundation, which the two set up along with Abhinandan Sekhri, according to the PCRF website. Both NGOs have used the RTI Act in the campaign against corruption. The former journalist also handles Kabir, the media initiative of their RTI movement. Sisodia's profile on the PCRF website says he conducts training workshops, produces short films and documentaries on various aspects of the right to information and edits Apna Panna, a monthly magazine on RTI.
Suresh Pathare, 32, looks after the accounts of the Brashtachar Virodhi Jan Andolan Trust of which Anna Hazare is president. A resident of Ralegan Siddhi, he has been with Hazare since 2003, accompanies him on tour and was among those arrested with him. Soon after graduating in political science from University of Pune, he worked with Hazare on a project for the poor and then joined his trust. Pathare, who says he works 365 days a year and earns Rs 6,000 a month, once said, "I haven't seen Gandhiji but have heard stories about how it was for people who worked with him. I don't think it could have been very much different." He has toured with Hazare five times within Maharashtra but feels nothing comes close to the Jantar Mantar experience.
Dada Bhau Laxman Pathare, 32, dada to villagers in Ralegan Siddhi, has been with Anna Hazare for 10 years. He deals with Hazare's correspondence. He is a key member of the Bhrastachar Nirmulan Samiti and the Hind Swaraj Trust. Son of farmer parents and holder of an ITI diploma, he was invited by Hazare to join him a decade ago. Villagers call him a proactive manager at any given task; they cite the work he did at a watershed project at Ralegan Siddhi. His income from the Hind Swaraj Trust, villagers say, is Rs 5000 after he got a raise this year. He was one of the seven arrested with Hazare, and one of the five from Ralegan Siddhi, the other four being Suresh Pathare, Darshak, Naveen Jai Singh and Radhey Shyam.
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