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‘Bulli Bai’ row: Mumbai Police takes cognisance of online harassment of Muslim women on the app

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When Sulli Deals got banned, ‘Bulli Bai’ is the new thriller for haters. Muslim women with a celeb presence on Twitter have been singled out and their photos are being displayed as ‘Bulli Bai’. A journalist, who is one of the women named in the app, said that Muslim women have had to start the year with a “sense of fear and disgust.” Soon after the social media outrage, the Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi raised the matter on Twitter. She also requested Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and Mumbai Police to take action.

Muslim women with a celeb presence on Twitter have been singled out and their photos are being displayed as ‘Bulli Bai’. A journalist, who is one of the women named in the app, said that Muslim women have had to start the year with a “sense of fear and disgust.”

The app, now taken down, displayed more than 100 women ‘for sale as maids’, with victims saying they have little hope of action by police. Once again, Muslim women were targeted and harassed by an unidentified group on the internet by uploading their photos and auctioning them online. The photos were uploaded on an app called GitHub by the name of ‘Bulli Bai’ on Saturday (January 1, 2022). Two FIRs were filed by the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Police in the ‘Sulli Deals’ controversy last year after photos of Muslim women were misused, but no concrete action has been taken against the perpetrators.

Speaking to Afternoon Voice, Mumbai Police DCP Cyber Crime Dr Rashmi Karandikar said, “Today we have a meeting with CP regarding the same. We will address this issue technically.”

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police officially said, “They have taken cognisance of the matter and that concerned officials have been asked to take action. Mumbai cyber police have initiated a probe in connection with the objectionable content.”

“The app ‘Bulli Bai’ works just the same way as ‘Sulli Deals’ did. Once you open it, you randomly find a Muslim woman’s face being displayed as Bulli Bai,” a social media user said.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, “Such things are very unfortunate, this hate-mongering looks politically inclined. We want justice to be delivered and no women should go through such gruesome virtual attacks. I wonder why Home Minister Amit Shah is a mute spectator? He should have taken objection and investigated such Apps and ban them on priority; he should seek reports from Delhi police for failing to take any action despite registering an FIR. One more FIR is made in Uttar Pradesh; CM Yogi Adityanath should immediately act against the culprits by delivering justice to the daughters of India. Meanwhile, Maharashtra Police are already investigating the issue.”

“Anything derogatory against Women is condemnable and reprehensible which deserves to be punished seriously. India has been a land that has been respecting women and, in some sects, they are placed on a pedestal as Goddess. Most of the Hindu casts and sub casts rever a lady’s position as Mother and Goddess – Devi. So also, in Christianity Mother Mary is revered for having given this world Jesus Christ. Merely because some of our population rever the Islamic Faith, it does not give a license to these Rabid individuals to degrade women. It is highly reprehensible and severe punishment deserves to be meted out to the offenders,” said Adv Satish Maneshinde.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “Communal forces consider sexual violence as their weapon. Those who sow the crops of hatred are committing sexual violence by targeting women based on identity, they are anti-society, constitution and country. Our Prime Minister not taking action against such people shows the anti-women ideology of his government.”

Mehbooba Mufti, leader of PDP said, “Appalling that the criminals behind such derogatory & demeaning actions against Muslim women are given a free run. Whether its open calls for genocide of Muslims or targeting Muslim women online, it is clear that these fringe elements enjoy the patronage of those in power.”

Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik told Afternoon Voice, “I have personally met the state home minister Dilip Valse Patil and demanded a probe. This is beyond annoyance to see vocal Muslim Women being auctioned online in Sulli Deals & Bulli Bai. I’ve also had a telephonic conversation with two such victims. I am shocked to see a level of hate and anger against a set of women. Maharashtra police will nab the culprits soon. Maharashtra will always stand with the daughters of the nation.”

“The Right Wing in India has been instrumental in creating a rift in the social fabric of the Nation, especially by creating unpleasant social behaviour against the Muslim community, in line with preachings of the likes of Golwalkar. In recent times VHP, Bajrang Dal type of RSS outfits have had posed problems for all minorities in India, this needs no clarification. Even Retired Army officers like Maj Gen GD Bakshi and Lt Gen SP Sinha have been ultra-vocal against Muslims and have faced social Backlash. Godi Media has been raging war-like situations against the Muslim community. I recollect BJP leaders insulting Kashmiri Muslim women post Article 370 abrogation. Many BJP leaders have been caught in sex rackets. The literate yet uneducated segment of Right-wing society flares up nuisance such as these ‘Sulli Deals’ creating unwarranted mayhem. In a country such as ours, women are worshipped as Goddesses and it’s against our cultural traditions to demean women. “Beti Bachao” is much needed, against such mindless Right-wing people, who are unethical and sort of Anti-Indian Ethics,” Nishant Varma, a political analyst said.

Preeti Sharma Menon leader of AAP said, “In a country where the Prime Minister follows social media abusers’ women are just not safe on social media. But I never thought the trolls will fall so low, to sell profiles of Muslim women! I can’t imagine what those women must be going thru, to have their photos and profiles circulated like this. I hope Maharashtra govt acts.”

Nandita Thakur said, “I am totally against any such activities/threats of rapes or stalking of women on social media irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or political affiliation. We are living in a world where any crime against women is immediately segregated into various sections like caste, religion, political ideology and then accordingly reactions come. Since the ‘Sulli Deals’ or ‘Bulli Bai’ target were Muslim women without even any investigation Right wingmen were blamed by left-wing activists and Liberals. Last year when Sulli Deals happened the blame was put on the Right-wing but later on, one Zaved Alam‘s name cropped up with his telegram chats with Zubair. With the elections in UP, Punjab and other states, this is a clear attempt to polarise the election, create a negative image of India and BJP internationally. Before Jumping to conclusions Leftists and Liberals should wait for investigation agencies’ reports. In the past, even I was threatened with rape on Twitter, not just me but the person who had threatened to rape my mother and my daughter (which I don’t have). Derogatory remarks were made by a fan of the then Congress Social Media warrior and now Rajya Sabha MP. Women from all sides face such threats, abuses since we stand divided. It’s high time women issues are seen as women issues and not as Hindu-Muslim, upper caste-lower caste, North-South women issues.”

Adv. Abha Singh said, “Our heads should be held in shame. I am shocked to read that Muslim women are on sale with their faces on Apps like Bulli Bai. Some mischievous people trying to humiliate strong and empowered women to create a bad blad in Hindus and Muslims. I hope that the Police take action under 295A of the IPC for spreading hatred and creating a rift between two communities. An FIR is registered against these culprits with vested interests. Interpol can be helpful as these sites have overseas registration. A year before Sulli deals was trending but no Action was taken against it. Let us stand against these miscreants trying to divide women into communal lines.”

Journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani said, “In our country where women are worshipped goddesses, today getting auctioned on Apps. The deals are set for them and people are silent on such serious issues, is it because they are not the women of your family? Is this new Indianness? Are these your principles, are these your values? History will not forgive your criminal cowardice.”

Mohammed Zubair of Alt News stated, “They’ve at least 100 Influential Indian Muslim women’s photographs. @wannabesigmaf Twitter handle that had tweeted about it. Have archive links and screenshots of deleted tweets. It’s easier for Twitter to find who’s behind. Please file a Police complaint in Mumbai, Not Delhi. You must have seen the investigation by Delhi Police when there was a complaint last year for a similar case. Mumbai Police took 3-4 days to arrest a person who gave rape threats to cricket’s daughter from his anonymous account.”

Deepali Sawant a social media buff said, “This is a sponsored project to please those special voters in the election. The ultimate goal is achieved, now they only need a few more complaints and strong responses from minorities and of course the media to deliver it to every corner of Uttar Pradesh where CM Yogi/Reliance Jio could not procure internet. Also, special Hindi media will explain the matter to non-English speaking voters about it so they also enjoy the achievement of their elected government.”

Bilal Vazir, a social worker said, “Who really in this day and age, where one is busy with one’s own Job, has so much time to make an App to spread Hatred, can’t be a normal person. This looks like a politically motivated attempt to incite communal violence; Police must investigate the Politician’s angle behind this. The hate against minorities is increasing at a rapid rate. I don’t know whether the government will take any action or not. But whatever is happening puts India at shame.”

Arif Bilal a businessman said, “Previously some nonsense work like hate speech was virtually ignored. But personally, my hope for the present government is very low. Who has the time to look at these silly postings on the garbage apps, only those renting their empty minds to hate-mongering? But the media have a vested interest in keeping these types of news alive. They want some TRP and politicians want violence.”

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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