Harassed online, Muslim women demand arrests in ‘Bulli Bai’ app case

Former journalist Hiba Beg said, “We don’t want an FIR, we want arrests. Enough of bread-crumbing - show us actual action”

Last week, doctored photos of at least 100 Muslim women were uploaded on ‘Bulli Bai’ app on open-source platform GitHub for auction. | Representational image

Muslim women, auctioned online on the ‘Bulli Bai’ app, have expressed outrage and asked authorities to take stringent action against the people responsible.

Responding to the outburst from across sections of the society, Information Technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Sunday (January 2) that the perpetrator’s account had been blocked on GitHub and a detailed probe is on. The Delhi and Mumbai police have registered FIRs and the National Commission for Women (NCW) “took cognizance” of the issue. However, no arrest has been made so far.

The affected women, however, want action. Some of them took to social media to air their displeasure with the way authorities are handling the matter.

A woman by name Sidrah tweeted in response to NCW’s action in the matter, “Hello. Good morning. Do you do anything other than taking cognisance after outrage?”

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Former journalist Hiba Beg wrote on Twitter, “We don’t want an FIR, we want arrests. Enough of bread-crumbing – show us actual action. We cannot let this happen a third time!”

Sayema, who is an artist, said: “There are many Muslim names, including mine, in the obnoxious Bulli Deals. It’s a reflection on India’s broken justice system, a dilapidated law and order arrangement. Are we becoming the most unsafe country for women?”

Ismat Ara, also a journalist, said GitHub needs to answer some hard questions. “We have been sold and auctioned online on your platform. We demand answers, and deserve accountability from GitHub,” Ismat said.

Last week, doctored photos of at least 100 Muslim women were uploaded on ‘Bulli Bai’ app on open-source platform GitHub for auction. They also carried lewd remarks and comments. GitHub subsequently removed the content, but many Twitter users tagged the women and posted screenshots of the webpage. The matter is being investigated by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, the Mumbai cyber police and the Delhi police.

In a similar incident last July, ‘Sulli Deals’ platform was used to upload photographs of Muslim women and ‘auction’ them. The Uttar Pradesh and Delhi police had registered FIRs then, but no arrests have been made so far.

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