How Social Media Giants Turn a Blind Eye to Hindu Nationalist Hate Speech

Months after cow vigilante and Hindu nationalist influencer Monu Manesar became notorious on social media after being accused of murder and posting his exploits against cow traders and smugglers, another Hindu nationalist figure went from obscurity to superstar-like fame, thanks to social media giants frequently ignoring their own moderation rules and community guidelines.

Kajal Shingala, or Kajal Hindustani as she’s popularly known, rose to prominence among Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) circles because of her inflammatory content against Muslims and critics of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Despite having no connections with the BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or other right-wing Hindu nationalist groups, the businesswoman and mother of two managed to rise and become many of Hindutva’s rising stars after building her social media presence back in 2016.

Shingala, who called herself the “lioness of Gujarat,” began her online (and subsequently offline) activities when she learned about an incident in 2016 when student activists at the Jawaharlal Nehru University commemorated the death of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist and terror convict who was arrested for his role in the 2001 attacks against the Indian Parliament. He was a member of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based jihadist group active in Kashmir.

She initially started on Facebook Live, where she would choose a topic and discuss her analysis on the selected subject. From the beginning, it was clear that Shingala was pro-BJP, pro-Modi, and pro-Hindutva while attacking critics of Narendra Modi and the BJP and engaging in hate speech against Muslims, Christians, and even secular Hindus, whom she described as a “blot” and “curse” on Hinduism.

Since then, she has expanded her social media presence to other sites, like YouTube and Twitter, with more than 36,000 subscribers and 123,000 followers. But Shingala had the most presence on Facebook, with more than 369,000 followers as of 2022.

Many Hindutva leaders noticed her burgeoning popularity, with Narendra Modi himself following Shingala on Twitter in 2018. Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce, also follows her.

While she initially faced bans and restrictions on her accounts because of violating hate speech rules set by social media sites like Facebook, they did not end her unabating prominence to become the Hindutva movement’s new rising star.

But her popularity skyrocketed in 2021 when Shingala attended Hindutva events and rallies and served as a public speaker for these demonstrations. She also underwent a significant transformation in the image, from wearing Western office attire to donning a saree, salwar kameez, and other traditional Indian clothing.

She continued her hate speech against Muslims, Christians, and other critics of Narendra Modi, the BJP, and other Hindutva groups and individuals. In October 2022 and February 2023, she led calls to impose an “economic boycott” against Muslims, boycotting their businesses and refusing them to apply for jobs or rent properties.

Despite the initial bans and complaints against her in social media and real life, Shingala continued to receive attention and following among Hindu nationalists, proving how the Indian government and social media giants like Meta, Twitter, and YouTube do little to prevent the rise of influencers like Shingala, who built her influence by peddling hate speech and conspiracy theories against perceived enemies of the Hindutva movement.

If you like our posts, subscribe to the Atheist Republic newsletter to get exclusive content delivered weekly to your inbox. Also, get the book "Why There is No God" for free.

Click Here to Subscribe

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.