In an incendiary speech delivered in Gujarat's Morbi on Wednesday, 27 October, right-wing hardliner Kajal Ben Shingala, alias Kajal Hindustani, has called for the demolition of certain local Islamic structures, including an ancient dargah located in the city.
Shingala, addressing a congregation organised by Jay Ambe Seva Group in Morbi, claimed that members of the Muslim community had illegally encroached upon the Darbargadh area of Morbi. She also advocated the adoption of "illegal means" to bulldoze two mosques, which she claimed had been constructed there illegally.
"Out of this crowd, if only 500 can tell me that they are against this illegal encroachment that they (Muslims) have done in Darbargadh, then tell me. This campaign should start by tomorrow, and do not rest until these two illegal masjids are destroyed. I will make the strategy and lead it, all I need is your support. If it is illegal, then why do we need to adopt legal means to destroy it? I will get the bulldozer and I will pay for it. If people are standing with me, I will do it. Tell me when should we do this?"Kajal Hindustani
The event, at which hundreds were present, was also attended by senior journalist and right-wing advocate Pushpendra Kulshrestha as chief guest.
Claiming in her speech that she has the support of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) for the demolition, Hindustani said:
"If we go now, Pushpendra (Kulshrestha) bhai will tell us that you called me and went to destroy it. So if you want to listen to him and destroy it, then do it. I am here. I will do it. You can sit down. It feels good that you stood in support of me and I liked that my brothers are with me. If they cannot take permission while doing illegal work, then why do we need permission to destroy it? I had brought the same matter to the parishad also, illegal means are justified to bring down illegal things."
The police, when approached by The Quint, declined from commenting on the matter. No action has been taken against Hindustani or the event organisers for the inflammatory speech so far.
Further, as per The Quint's knowledge, no statement has been made in this relation by the VHP or the RSS.
Ms Kajal, who is followed by PM Modi on Twitter, has been stirring controversy through her Twitter account that is seen as inflammatory by many.
Sunni Muslim Samaj Writes to the Police, Demands Strict Action
The Sunni Muslim Samaj of Morbi, in a letter to the Morbi Police, has raised a complaint against the communal remarks.
"Ms Kajal, a member of Jai Ambe group, was seen giving a speech on 27 October about Muslims and destroying masjids and dargahs with bulldozers. This speech has been forwarded on social media and reached people not only in Morbi but in the whole of Gujarat, and has been spreading hate and disrupting the peace here," the letter states.
"Even if someone has an issue to raise, it should be done in a lawful manner. Nobody has the right to hurt anyone's religious sentiments. For that, we call for strict action against this person, so that this is not repeated again. To avoid this, we also request police officers to be arranged at gatherings like these," conveyed the Sunni Muslim Samaj.
The Dargah Is Old, Not Illegal, Says District Collector
The Hazrat Ali Peer Shah Dargah, the local shrine that is the bone of contention, is not "a new encroachment" but has been around for ages, said Morbi's district collector.
"The Dargah is not a new encroachment but it’s a very old Dargah. The area comes under municipal corporation and the officers of municipal corporation have also informed that it’s very old Dargah... So there is no issue of illegality. The matter has come to our light and we are assessing the situation along with the superintendent of police," District Collector JB Patel stated, alluding to the claims of illegality.