SURAT — Hardik Patel announced the postponement till September 13 of his 'reverse Dandi yatra' over the Patel quota issue, which was scheduled to be taken out today.
He, however, warned that he would go ahead with the protest programme if the government fails to grant permission to the rally by next Sunday.
"We have decided to postpone our Dandi yatra from its scheduled date of September 6 to September 13 as the scared government did not give us permission to hold it tomorrow. But we see this as their defeat and our triumph," Hardik told reporters.
The 22-year-old leader, who has been spearheading the agitation to get reservation under OBC category for the Patel community, said they will hold the march on September 13 even if they are denied permission.
Navsari District Collector Remya Mohan Muthadath earlier today denied permission to hold the march and also deployed security personnel and paramilitary forces to deal with the situation.
"As of now, we have followed all the laws, but if they will again deny permission to us, we will not follow the laws.
The Dandi yatra will take place on September 13 whether or not they give us permission," Hardik said.
"If violence will take place or if law and order will be breached, then the state government and the police will be responsible for that," he said.
Hardik alleged that the state government wants to divide communities in Gujarat.
"The government has been making attempts to divide the communities. They want to instigate clash among communities.
We do not want to create any conflict with other communities It is the state government's wish. We want peace, but it is the government who wants to create a chaotic situation in the society," he said.
Hardik noted that the agitation is only to seek reservation for the Patels and they are not against any other community.
Hardik's close aide, Chirag Patel said state authorities have imposed section 144 of CrPC to restrain the huge influx of Patels, as they have fear seeing the unity of the community.
"They have denied us permission, now we are determined to take out the march on September 13. If they give us permission or not, we will hold the march on that day," Chirag told PTI.
"I am telling this on behalf of Hardikbhai that if any chaos or violence takes place, the state government and police will have to take responsibility for that," Chirag said.
Earlier today, Hardik, in a written statement announced that they would go ahead with the march despite the government not granting them permission.
"I, along with 78 others, will begin the march from Dandi tomorrow. As and when the march reaches Surat, around five lakh people will join us," Hardik had said earlier today.
Hardik has been hogging the national limelight after his aggressive speech at August 25 mega-rally of Patels at GMDC ground here. His detention had set off massive violence, claiming 10 lives and imposition of curfew in many parts of the state.
The Dandi March led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 was an important part of the Independence movement and Hardik's move to choose that location for strengthening his agitation is viewed as a message to various stake-holders.