A 21-year-old guy was detained in India in connection with an app that published images of more than 100 Muslim women for “sale.”
The Indian boy is an engineering student from Bangalore, India, whose name has not been revealed. The allegations against him are unclear, but police told BBC Marathi that he is a “close fan” of the app, Bulli Bai. The program was hosted on GitHub, which has since pulled it down in the wake of considerable outcry.
Hi @DelhiPolice. This lot already harassed me by hosting an auction of me and making disgusting lewd comments on me. I had filed an FIR in May with you, but you’ve done absolutely nothing. Now they’re back with this. Good job protecting women. Will you do anything now atleast? https://t.co/HvMlIIho7N— Hasiba | حسيبة | हसीबा 🌈 (@HasibaAmin) January 1, 2022
Without their permission, photographs of numerous renowned Muslim journalists and activists were utilized on the app and placed up for “sale” in a phony auction. This is the second time that Muslim women have been “auctioned” online in an attempt to harass them. In July of last year, the app and website “Sulli Bargain” constructed profiles of over 80 Muslim women based on images they posted to the internet and branded them as “deals of the day.”
In all cases, there was no actual sale, but the goal was to degrade and humiliate Muslim women, many of whom have spoken out against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s increasing tide of Hindu nationalism. Sulli is a disparaging Hindi slang name for Muslim women used by right-wing Hindu trolls, while bulli is equally insulting. Despite the fact that the Sulli deals case has being investigated by the authorities, no one has been charged.
Thanks for all the support and messages. If you really care about this issue you must not remain silent because it's not about Indian women or pakistani women. It's about muslim women who are being targetted and it's a clear Islamophobia! #SulliDeals— Quratulain Rehbar (@ainulrhbr) January 2, 2022
When the news of the Bulli Bai app broke, poet Nabiya Khan, who was a target in the Sulli transactions case, tweeted that the Delhi Police had failed to act on her complaint, which she had filed in 2021. Based on complaints from women who were targeted, police in at least three states have launched an inquiry into the Bulli Bai app.
On Saturday, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the minister of information and technology, announced that GitHub had disabled the user who published the program, and that police were coordinating with cyber agencies for “further action.” “Besides blocking the platform, punishing the offenders who create such sites is crucial,” Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi responded on Twitter.
She told ANI that the new app was established since the Sulli deal’s creators had not yet been penalized. After the Sulli deals app was exposed in July 2021, the MP published letters sent to Mr Vaishnav. According to a GitHub spokeswoman, the firm has suspended a user account after investigating accusations of similar activities, which “all violate our regulations.”
According to a 2018 Amnesty International research on online harassment in India, the more vocal a woman was, the more likely she was to be targeted; this was especially true for women from religious minorities and lower castes. Critics claim that in Indian polarized political climate, trolling targeting Muslim women has gotten worse in recent years.
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