Ahmedabad police are in possession of transcripts of purported conversations between Patidar leader Hardik Patel and his associates in which he allegedly discloses a plan to block all highways “by breaking empty soda bottles, parking trucks on the way and burning tyres” on the evening before the India-South Africa ODI in Rajkot on October 18.
Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik and five of his associates are facing sedition charges in a case booked by the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) for making provocative statements and “waging war against the government”.
The DCB has also got in its possession transcripts of purported phone conversations among the other accused related to the Patidar rally in Ahmedabad on August 25 in which they are heard threatening to “burn the whole of Gujarat in an hour”, “topple the government” and “burn trains”.
One purported transcript shows an associate of Hardik telling an unidentified man to “keep cartridges ready and shoot in case of a ruckus”.
These transcripts, along with recordings of Hardik’s speeches over the last three months, are part of the DCB’s FIR against Hardik, Dinesh Bhambhaniya, Chirag Patel, Ketan Patel, Alpesh Katheriya and Amrish Patel — a copy of the report has been examined by The Indian Express.
Hardik and his associates were arrested by Rajkot police on October 18, while trying to obstruct the ODI match. Hardik is also facing another sedition case lodged by Surat Police for allegedly telling Vipul Desai, a Patidar who had threatened to commit suicide, to “kill four to five policemen” instead. The Gujarat High Court had asked the prosecution to explain how a private conversation amounted to sedition.
The purported transcripts also show Hardik predicting his arrest on October 18, and his associates discussing ways to create a “big ruckus” following their leader’s arrest on August 25. “The government has committed a mistake by arresting him,” an associate is quoted as saying.
October 17, 5.43 pm
Hardik: “Havey etla mate phone karyo to ke tame highway roki shako, tamaro Sayalavalo? (I have called you to know, can you block your Sayla [in Surendranagar district] highway).”
Kuldip: “Kyare? (When?).”
Hardik: “Gamey tyare, kahiye tyare (Whenever, when we tell you).”
Kuldip: “Any time, saheb.”
October 17, 5:45 pm
Hardik: “Aavati kale highway rokvana che (Tomorrow, the highway has to be blocked).”
Alpesh: “Ha, to vandho nathi (Yes, no problem).”
Hardik: “Highwayni sharuaat hoon karvanu chhu savare nav vaage rokvana chhe Nileshbhai Arvadiane jailmathi mukta karo patidar samaj ne nyay aapo aa baner sathe (I will start at the highway in the morning at 9 in the morning, with a banner to release Nileshbhai Arvadia from jail and give justice to Patidar community).”
(Nilesh Arvadia was arrested by the DCB in a separate sedition case).
Alpesh: “Chokkas (Sure).”
Hardik: “Bhulaay nahi Kamrej walo highway bandh karvano chhe Gujaratna tamam highway bandh thai javana che koi baki nathi rahevana (Don’t forget to close Kamrej highway, all highways of Gujarat will be closed, leave none out).”
Alpesh: “Mari jawabdari (My responsibility).”
Hardik: “Ha, pan aevo rokvano ke peli khali sodani botlo phodi nakhvani rasta upar trako muki devani barobar, tayro salgavi devana (Yes, block the highway by breaking empty soda bottles, parking trucks on the way and burning tyres).”
October 17, 10.39 pm
Hardik: “Kale amari dharpakad thay tarat thai javu joiye barabar, TVma tame juo (Tomorrow, I will be arrested, you watch on TV).”
Kuldip: “Ha, 100% ama nahi rah jovama aave (Yes, 100% it won’t wait).”
Hardik: “Barabar bhulvanu nahi jaraya tamare lagbhag nav vage, kale amari TV ma, 35 km bandh rahevu joiye, savarma saat vage arrest thay atle jovanu barobar. (Don’t forget about 9 am. It should be closed till 35 km. There will be arrest at 7 am that’s why don’t forget).”
Pointing out that violence erupted at various places and that highways were blocked in Surat and Mehsana on October 17 and October 18, the FIR has alleged that the purported transcripts show Hardik and his core team members “incited the agitators and used criminal force” to topple the State Government.
Dinesh, Chirag and Ketan, who were arrested on Wednesday by DCB, were sent to police custody on Thursday by a metropolitan court till October 29 while Hardik is in the custody of Surat Police till Friday.
Another set of transcripts relate to purported phone conversations of some of Hardik’s alleged associates and two unidentified men on August 25.
August 25, 8.20 pm
Minutes after Hardik was detained at GMDC ground in Ahmedabad, Amrish Patel, among the six accused, was recorded in a purported conversation with an unknown caller.
Amrish: “Hardikni dharpakad thai che (Hardik has been caught).”
Caller: “Etlej toh tamne phone karyo ke karvanu shu have (That’s why I have called you, what to do now).”
Amrish: “Have chalu kariye bhega karvanu badhane (Now let’s start gathering all).”
Caller: “Ha, karone badhane bhega ame pan aviye ane kariye moto tayfo (Yes, gather all, we are also coming and create a big ruckus).”
August 25, 9.36 pm
In this transcript, accused Dinesh Bhambhaniya is recorded as speaking to an unidentified man.
Dinesh: “Na, na, ema nathi. Chhodava aavyu chhu. Hamna salgavi daiyye aakha Gujaratne ek kalakma, aane pakadvani bhul kari sarkare. Ek kalak na thava daiyye (No, no, not in this. I have come to release. We will burn the whole of Gujarat in an hour, government has committed a mistake by arresting him. Let us not take an hour).”
August 25, 11.11 pm
In another transcript, Dinesh is again recorded as speaking to an unidentified man.
Dinesh: “Tame chinta na karta. Ane kartis bharavine rakhje ane babal thay to thoki deje (You don’t worry. Keep cartridges ready and shoot in case of ruckus).”