KARACHI: An app released images of over 100 Muslim women for an online “auction”, prompting Indian police to file complaints.
According to a storey released on Monday by the BBC, the accused include the developers of the programme as well as the Twitter accounts that shared the photographs and text.
Bulli Bai, an open-source application, was once hosted on the web platform GitHub, which has since removed it.
Attempts to harass Muslim women in India by “auctioning” them on the internet have been made twice in the last few months.
“Sulli Deals” was a mobile application and website that, in July, built profiles of more than 80 Muslim women based on images they supplied to the internet and marketed them as “deals of the day.”
According to the BBC, in both incidents, there was no actual sale of anything; rather, the objective was to demean and humiliate Muslim women by publishing their personal photos. Sulli is a disparaging Hindi slang term used by right-wing Hindu trolls to refer to Muslim women, while “bulli” is also a derogatory term used to refer to Muslim men
Over the weekend in Delhi, journalist Ismat Ara, whose name and photograph featured on the Bulli Bai app, filed a police complaint against the app’s creators. It was directed at unidentified individuals, and the charges against them included sexual harassment and fostering hostility on the basis of religion
In response to a complaint from another woman on the Bulli Bai list, the Mumbai police department filed a second case against many Twitter accounts and the makers of the Bulli Bai app. It featured a number of journalists and activists, as well as an award-winning Bollywood actress and even the mother of a university student who went missing after going missing in 2016.
Many of the ladies whose images were posted on the Bulli Bai app over the weekend expressed their feelings of being “traumatised” and “horrified” on social media.
Almost six months have passed since the Sulli Deals case was first reported, and no arrests have been made.
Asra told Al Jazeera that the lack of progress in the probe had left her feeling disillusioned.
According to her complaint, “it is truly disheartening to witness the impunity with which such hate-mongers continue to target Muslim women, without fear of any consequence whatsoever.
Police were cooperating with cyber agencies for “further action,” according to Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday. GitHub had barred the person who published the app, and police were coordinating with cyber authorities for “further action.
Shiv Sena legislator Priyanka Chaturvedi responded on Twitter with the following statement: “Besides shutting the platform, punishing the offenders who create such sites is crucial.
She informed the news agency ANI that the new software was developed since the creators of Sulli Deals had not yet been prosecuted and punished.
The National Panel for Women tweeted that its chairwoman had requested that the Delhi Police Commissioner tell the commission “as soon as possible” about the outcome of the investigation.
Satej Patil, the state’s home minister, has criticised digital platforms such as GitHub for being “rife with misogyny and communal intolerance,” according to his statement.
In addition, he sent a tweet to the federal government, inquiring about the progress of the inquiry into the Sulli Deals incident.
Female vocalisation increased the likelihood of being targeted, according to an Amnesty International research on online harassment in India published in 2018. The severity of this increased for women from religious minorities and underprivileged castes, according to the report.