Mumbai: “How do these love jihadis have the courage to pick my Hindu girls up and take them away? Where is our mahila shakti? Mahila shakti will be when an Abdul, Aftab tries to pick up our girls and we bury him right there, 10 feet under, and get our girls back.”

Impeccably dressed in a shiny green and pink saree, dangly earrings, a long, bulky necklace, bangles, slicked hair and big bindi, Kajal Shingala, believed to be in her early 40s, delivered this speech in the Gujarat town of Una on 30 March 2023, when she called for the “Lanka of jihadis” to be “burnt down”, a reference to either Muslim safe havens or neighbourhoods.

More commonly known by her nom de guerre, Kajal Hindustani, Shingala’s keynote speech at a rally organised by Hindu fundamentalist groups in Una caused tensions in a town of about 60,000, 28% Muslim and 70% Hindu. Hindus and Muslims clashed, leaving at least two people injured. Three days later, on 2 April, the Una police filed a first information report (FIR) against Shingala and arrested her a week later.

Four days after her arrest, on 13 April 2023, Shingala was let off on bail by the sessions court in Una on a bail bond of Rs 50,000. Outside the jail, supporters welcomed her with flowers, garlands and sweets.

Shingala was booked for “intending to outrage religious feelings”, “promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race and language”, and for making statements “conducing to public mischief” under section 295 A, Section 153A and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Remanded to 14-days judicial custody, it was the first arrest for Shingala, a prosperous businesswoman and mother of two sons, the older one having just appeared for his class 12 exams.

Over the past 14 months, she has travelled across the country, addressing crowded Hindu right-wing rallies as a star speaker. The rallies have invited protests, leading to tensions and violence, as in Una…

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