3 held for fake auction of Muslim women in India...

Dhaka, Thursday   27 January 2022

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Bulli Bai app

3 held for fake auction of Muslim women in India

 International Desk daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 03:43 PM, 5 January 2022  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

Indian police have arrested three people in connection with an app that shared photos of more than 100 Muslim women saying they were on "sale". 

The suspects - two 21-year-old men and an 18-year-old woman - are being questioned.

Police in Mumbai, India's financial capital, said more arrests are expected.

The app was hosted on web platform GitHub, which has since taken it down amid widespread anger and outrage.

"It's too early to say who made the app and what their motive is," Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale said.

Charges against the three who have been arrested haven't been confirmed yet.

On Tuesday, Mumbai police arrested Vishal Kumar, an engineering student, in the southern city of Bangalore and Shweta Singh in the northern state of Uttarakhand. On Wednesday morning, they arrested Mayank Rawat, also a student in Uttarakhand.

"A few more people have been detained for questioning. We will investigate this case to its logical end," Satej Patel, Maharashtra state's junior home minister, told the BBC.

Photographs of several prominent Muslim journalists and activists were uploaded on the Bulli Bai app without their permission and put on "sale" in a fake auction. 

This is the second attempt to harass Muslim women by "auctioning" them online. In July last year, an app and website called "Sulli Deals" created profiles of more than 80 Muslim women - using photos they uploaded online - and described them as "deals of the day".

In both cases, there was no real sale, but the purpose was to degrade and humiliate Muslim women - many of whom have been vocal about the rising tide of Hindu nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sulli is a derogatory Hindi slang term right-wing Hindu trolls use for Muslim women, and bulli is also pejorative.

Though the police began an investigation in the Sulli deals case, no one has been charged.

When news of the Bulli Bai app broke, poet Nabiya Khan who was targeted in the Sulli deals case, tweeted that the Delhi Police had yet to take action on her complaint in 2021. 

Police in at least three states have opened an investigation into the Bulli Bai app based on complaints by women who were targeted.

"Our investigation is in its premature stages, so we can't say yet whether Bulli Bai and Sulli Deals are connected", Mr Nagrale said.

The list of women on the Bulli Bai app included a Bollywood actor and the 65-year-old mother of a disappeared Indian student.

The fake auction shocked and angered people after several women who featured on it shared screenshots and messages on social media. - BBC