The Muslim women of India started their new year with a sense of the same fear and disgust that they felt in July 2020 when their pictures were uploaded on a website without their consent and were auctioned online. The mobile application went from ‘Sulli Deals’ to ‘Bulli Bai’ in less than a year and yet no significant action has been taken against the culprits.
Women journalists took to their social media handles and shared how their pictures were again floating on a mobile application on the Microsoft-owned GitHub platform. One journalist told Al Jazeera, “When I saw my photograph, my throat got heavy, I had goosebumps on my arms and I was numb. It was shocking and humiliating.”
The Delhi Police has asked tech platform GitHub to provide information about the person who developed the ‘Bulli Bai app’ and has also directed Twitter to remove all the “offensive content” related to the app from its platform. Is that enough?
Bulli Bai App Auctions Muslim Women: When Will We Wake Up And Take Action?
Since July 2020, the police have been unable to find the criminals who attacked Muslim women on the ‘Sulli deals App’ and auctioned their pictures with the disgusting tagline “Sulli Deals of the Day”. Hundreds of Muslim women were targeted and some of them were well-known journalists. Before they could get over the former incident and be given justice, the act was repeated in 2022 when a similar app named Bulli Bai started posting their pictures for auction.
This is proof enough that whatever action we took last time against these attackers was not enough and the culprits are finding it easy to keep repeating the shameful act. Media reports mentioned that that the Delhi police was asked about the Sulli deals case to which they responded that the investigations are still going on and “did not elaborate” further.
Suggested Reading: Sulli Deals Harassment: The Double Jeopardy Of Being A Muslim Woman Online
No matter how widespread the social media outrage be in such cases, as long as there is no law and order measure taken against the alleged parties, stopping the attacks on women will be difficult.
Why Are Muslim Women Being Attacked?
There are many indicators to suggest that the othering of the Muslim women is on the rise. The women of the community who fought for the rights of Indians at Shaheen Bagh and spoke their minds through their journalistic work have become the targets. One must question why.
Is it an attempt to silence them and stop them from exercising their democratic rights? Auctioning pictures of over 100 women on mobile applications with derogatory names can only happen in a society that’s undergoing a breakdown of ethics, and inclusion and doesn’t care about women’s issues. The fact that these incidents have resurfaced after a year make us question whether the police and social media watchers have failed in their task to make the internet a safer space. Even though reports have been registered with the police, how can such unabated efforts to pick on and discriminate Muslim women be stemmed.
A Delhi-based journalist whose name also showed up on the said app spoke to SheThePeople earlier and said, “To diminish a community, the first thing you do is target its women.”
When will India see a concerted effort to make social media free of bias and abuse? When will we find the internet becoming a democratic place rather than one where a specific religion and its people are called out? How long with the women of our society have to go through humiliation and fear just because they voice their opinions?
It’s time to think about these issues and speak up.
Tanvi Akhauri contributed to this article