‘I warn them of such tactics because hundreds of Hardiks will be born if one is killed because our fight for justice has been accepted by the Patidar community.’
Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti convener Hardik Patel tells Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com in an telephone interview why he fears Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah.
Do you fear Amit Shah?
Everybody is scared of Amit Shah. He is a big man. Everybody knows what he is capable of. He has himself been a tadipar (externed from Gujarat).
His name has been linked with the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and the efforts to scuttle the murder investigation of Haren Pandya (Gujarat’s home minister during the 2002 Godhra train carnage and the riots that followed; Pandya was shot dead in 2003). He can go to any length to crush our agitation.
Now (as the ruling party at the Centre) they don’t fear anybody. Nothing will stop them from crushing our agitation.
The Bihar elections are on and we plan to go to Bihar and tell the people there about the strong arm tactics the Gujarat government has used to cow us down and threaten us.
While in Bihar, if he (Shah) wants to, he can do anything to me.
To crush our agitation it is possible that I may be murdered while in Bihar.
I warn them of such tactics because hundreds of Hardiks will be born if one is killed because our fight for justice has been accepted by the Patidar community.
We will ask the people of Bihar to understand how the government is trying to harass us, using government machinery.
I am sure the people of Bihar will teach them a lesson. They fear that they will lose the Bihar elections because of my campaigning.
I will be in Bihar on October 27 or 28.
This is a fight for the rights of Patidars; it did not start because somebody incited us. Neither will it stop because somebody asks us to do it or forces us to stop it.
I request Amit Shah to keep off our agitation for reservations.
Amit Shah is not our baap (father). This andolan (agitation) has started because of our baap Sardar (freedom fighter and Independent India’s first home minister Vallabhbhai Patel).
Hamara baap Sardar hai, na ki Amit Shah (We draw inspiration from Sardar Patel, not Amit Shah).
I want to tell Narendra Modi: A colossus like Chanakya from Hindustan has said that a great leader never cries.
If you really love your country, then stop crying while abroad. The people there start looking down upon you and your country as napoonsak (impotent).
They will start thinking that if a prime minister of a great nation like India is so weak, then the people of that country will be equally weaker.
If you have to cry at all, then cry over the deaths of Indian farmers who commit suicide every day; cry over our martyrs who lay down their lives at the border every day; cry over rapes and murders that happen in India every day.
Has your influence waned after the rally in Ahmedabad on August 25?
Just wait and watch. In the next two months, by December 25 or January 25, I will be calling 30 lakh (3 million) people once again.
Once you see such huge numbers there, you will again say, ‘Hardikbhai you still have it in you. Your influence has not waned.’
You had appealed to people to donate money for those who died during the agitation in August. How much money has been disbursed and how much money has been deposited into the bank account you had mentioned in your social media messages?
They didn’t die. They were murdered. People contributed from Rs 500 to Rs 50,000 and we have been able to disburse Rs 5 lakh (Rs 500,000) to the families of those who were murdered. The government is yet to give any compensation to these families.
But the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti sent bank account numbers where people could deposit money to help those who died. How much money has been deposited into these accounts?
10 ya 12 lakh huay honge (Maybe Rs 10 lakh to Rs 12 lakh has been deposited). Disconnects the call…