Police have registered an FIR on the complaint of a Delhi journalist who said that unidentified people had uploaded doctored photos of her online along with objectionable comments “aimed at insulting Muslim women”.
This comes six months after law enforcement authorities in Delhi and Noida registered cases in connection with photos of Muslim women being uploaded on a Github app. So far no one has been arrested in connection with that complaint.
The offended webpage has now been deleted, but not before several women, including the complainant, posted screenshots of their photos with “lewd context”.
A day after the journalist filed the complaint, Delhi Police registered a case under Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.
“We have received a complaint of a woman journalist alleging she is being targeted by an unidentified group of people on an app using GitHub by the name of ‘Bulli Bai’. An FIR has been registered at the cyber police station of the Southeast district,” a police officer said.
Esha Pandey, DCP (Southeast), said that a legal action has been initiated.
On July 7 and 8 last year, police in Noida and Delhi registered separate FIRs against unknown people for creating an app where photos of women, including a pilot and journalists, were uploaded with an intention to defame and harass them. The text accompanying the photos read ‘Deal of the Day’.
Delhi Police said they had written to GitHub seeking details of the accused who created the app.
The complainant said: “I was shocked to find out this morning that a website… had a doctored picture of me in an improper, unacceptable and clearly lewd context. I am often the target of online trolls and this seems to be the next step in such harassment. This needs immediate action as the same is clearly designed to harass me and other similarly situated independent women and journalists.”
She further wrote: “The term ‘Bulli Bai’ itself seems disrespectful and the content of this website is clearly aimed at insulting Muslim women as the derogatory term ‘Bulli’ is used exclusively for Muslim women and the entire website seems to have been designed with the intent of embarrassing and insulting Muslim women.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the perpetrator’s account had been blocked by GitHub and the matter was under investigation. “GitHub confirmed blocking the user this morning itself. CERT and Police authorities are coordinating further action,” he tweeted.
But opposition MPs pushed for quick and more effective action by the government against the perpetrators.
On Twitter, Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote: “For context, no arrests, however sites blocked. In the reemergence of Bulli Deals after Sulli Deals, here are my letters to Hon. IT Minister dated July 30 and September 6, 2021. Received a response on November 2. The clubhouse auctioning was to be my zero hour intervention.”
She posted images of letters she had written to the minister regarding the issue.
Earlier, she had said, “I have repeatedly asked Hon. IT Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw ji to take stern action against such rampant misogyny and communal targeting of women through #sullideals like platforms. A shame that it continues to be ignored.”
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor wrote: “It’s high time our Delhi Police got cracking. Disgraceful that people of such mentality exist but if they are allowed to get away with it they will repeat the offence at the next opportunity.”