Police in Udupi district of Karnataka registered a case against television journalist Shrikant Shetty and Kajal Ben Shingala aka Kajal Hindustani, a hardline Hindutva crusader from Gujarat, over speeches made during the Durga Daud programme held in Udupi on October 2. The First Information Report (FIR), registered 10 days after the speeches were made, charged the duo with promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.
A separate FIR was registered against 10-15 unknown persons over holding swords during the procession that took place in Udupi during the Durga Daud programme. The Durga Daud programme was organised on October 2 by the Hindu Jagarana Vedike in Udupi and it was attended by more than 10,000 people, with a few of them brandishing swords. One of the speakers, Shrikant Shetty, an Udupi based television journalist, told the gathering at the Durga Daud programme to worship weapons. "There should be a weapon in every Hindu household. In the next Ayudha pooja, Hindus should not worship cycles, mixers or grinders, but they should worship weapons. Let us cultivate the mindset to use those weapons. This is the aim of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike," Shrikant had said.
Referring to the hijab controversy which began in a college in Udupi, Shrikant Shetty said that the Hindu Jagarana Vedike was instrumental in instigating Hindu boys to face off against their Muslim classmates over the issue. "The saffron turbans from Durga Daud are now being seen in colleges. It is because of Durga Daud that society is changing and is becoming aware. If there is another dispute, it won't just be saffron turbans; there could also be a thousand swords," Shrikant Shetty said.
In the other rally by the Hindu Jagarana Vedike, the message of coexistence was irreconcilable and the speaker Shrikant Shetty called for Hindus to fight. At one point in the speech, he asked Hindus to keep weapons at home and worship it during Ayudha Pooja. pic.twitter.com/tvtqUhV6wY— Prajwal (@prajwalmanipal) October 3, 2022
The other speaker Kajal Ben Shingala aka Kajal Hindustani, a hardline Hindutva crusader from Gujarat, called for the boycott of Muslim businesses in Karnataka. “The money you give them, with the same money, they take away (elope with) your daughters. With the same money, they buy arms and gunpowder, run training camps, and prepare boys to become jihadis so they can behead people,” Kajal said in the rally.
Durga Daud rally in Udupi on October 2
At one point, a chant broke out — "we will build a Hindu rashtra," with dignitaries including the local MLA Raghupathi Bhat enthusiastically endorsing the idea by waving his hands along to it. Former Congress leader Pramod Madhwaraj was also part of the rally that preceded the formal event on October 2.
On the same day, a rally by Sahabalve, an organisation working for interfaith harmony, was held in Udupi where speakers called for interfaith dialogue and promoted communal harmony.