After ‘Sulli Deals’ Yet Another Outrageous App ‘Bulli Deals’ Pops Up To Auction Muslim Women Once Again In A Bid To Harass Them. This Is Sick!
Women have always been an easy target for men with ulterior motives. After all, a woman’s ‘izzat‘ in Indian society is so fragile and it is (obviously) of utmost importance. Using doctored pictures of women to defame them has been an age-old trick being used to control them and those around them. It seems that this dirty tactic has been used once again in less than a year to disrespect, shame, and defame Muslim women. Last year in July, an app called Sulli Deals sparked a row for using morphed images of Muslim women with the intent to objectify and degrade them. And seems like the trolls have gone and done it again but under a new name. This time unidentified cybercriminals took to posting manipulated pictures of Muslim women through a platform called Bulli Bai which is eerily similar to the Sulli Deals app.
The pictures of Muslim women are being used without their consent on this online portal which shares an almost identical interface with the Sulli Deals app. Bulli Bai holds auctions for Muslim women. Several women including a journalist from The Wire reported that their doctored images are being used by the platform for the auctions. The journalist also took to Twitter to share a screenshot from the online platform that has used the phrase ‘Bulli of the Day’ for her. The terms ‘Bulli‘ and ‘Sulli‘ are derogatory terms used for Muslim women with the intent to disrespect them.
It is very sad that as a Muslim woman you have to start your new year with this sense of fear & disgust. Of course it goes without saying that I am not the only one being targeted in this new version of #sullideals. Screenshot sent by a friend this morning.
Happy new year. pic.twitter.com/pHuzuRrNXR
— Ismat Ara (@IsmatAraa) January 1, 2022
The complaint filed by the journalist seeks the registration of an FIR under IPC Sections 153A (Promoting enmity between groups on the grounds of religion), 153B (imputations prejudicial to national integration), 354A (sexual harassment), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (words, sounds or gestures intending to insult the modesty of women), to be read with Sections 66 (sending grossly insensitive information through a computer resource) and 67 (sending lascivious or lewd matter) of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
UPDATE: An FIR has been registered by Cyber Police (South East Delhi) on the basis of my complaint with IPC sections 153A (Promoting enmity on grounds of religion etc), 153B (Imputations prejudicial to national-integration), 354A & 509 for sexual harassment. #BulliDeals pic.twitter.com/dJ1mspyiGI
— Ismat Ara (@IsmatAraa) January 2, 2022
“Social media being a form of public expression cannot be used to demean and derogate women in general and Muslim women in particular by misogynist sections of society. It is indeed disappointing to see the impunity with which such hate mongers continue to target Muslim women, without fear of any sanction whatsoever,” said the journalist in her complaint. Following the complaint, Delhi Police filed an FIR against unknown offenders under IPC section 153A, 153B, 354A and 509. They also sought information from microblogging platform Twitter about the account that first tweeted about the Bulli Bai app. The Delhi Police has also asked Twitter to remove any and all offensive content from the platform as per the media reports. Information has also been sought from the GitHub platform about the app developer of Bulli Bai.
— Ismat Ara (@IsmatAraa) January 3, 2022
I feel bad not weak. I am not someone who'd be silenced by such cheap tactics and I’ll keep raising such issues again and again. In complete solidarity with all those women who are targetted yet again. You are strong!
— Quratulain Rehbar (@ainulrhbr) January 1, 2022
Several other women from across the country have taken to social media to point out that their pictures have been used on Bulli Bai without their consent. Apart from Delhi Police, Mumbai Police has also filed an FIR against the app developer and Twitter handle that promotes the app based on the complaints by women that their morphed pictures were shared on the online portal Bulli Bai which is hosted by the GitHub platform. A case has been filed against unknown persons under section 153A, 153B, 509, 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), 354D (stalking), 500 (criminal defamation) of the IPC and Section 67 of IT Act. According to media reports, the cybercrime division of the Mumbai Police has also begun investigating the app which has now been taken down.
There are many Muslim names,including mine,in the obnoxious #BulliDeals , same as #SulliDeals
Even Najeeb's mother has not been spared. It's a reflection on India's broken justice system, a dilapidated law n order arrangement. Are we becoming the most unsafe country for women?
— Sayema (@_sayema) January 1, 2022
The collective anger of Muslim women you're witnessing on your timelines today comes from a place of deep anguish– of being exoticised, demonised, and patronised, all at once. Experiences ranging from being constantly talked down upon, to being sold online. #BulliDeals
— Fatima Khan (@khanthefatima) January 1, 2022
In the case of Sulli Deals app, two FIRs were filed – one by Delhi Police and one by the Uttar Pradesh Police but no stern action was taken against those responsible for mistreating and degrading women. Reacting to the incident, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi took to Twitter to share her disappointment. In a series of tweets, Chaturvedi shared that she has repeatedly sought stern action from the IT Minister against the ‘rampant misogyny and communal targeting of women’ through such apps. She also revealed that she had previously written to the IT Minister in July 2021 seeking action against those involved in the Sulli Deals app and while the sites were blocked, no arrests took place.
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. https://t.co/Q3JLxZpNeC
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) January 1, 2022
For context, no arrests, however sites blocked. In the reemergence of #BulliDeals after #SulliDeals here are my letters to Hon. IT Minister. Dated 30th July&6th September 2021. Received a response on 2nd November. The clubhouse auctioning was to be my zero hour intervention. pic.twitter.com/WvltiAH77U
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) January 2, 2022
While IT Minister did respond to the Shiv Sena MP and confirmed that GitHub has blocked the user and the Police authorities are taking further action, we’re definitely not satisfied with it.
Sir,Thank you.With due respect I had shared with you that besides blocking the platform punishing the offenders creating such sites is important.I hope @HMOIndia & @GoI_MeitY will support @MumbaiPolice to find these culprits&make them as well as platforms accountable #BulliDeals https://t.co/o1wXAnJVYq
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) January 1, 2022
It is extremely shameful and disgusting that such an incident has taken place for the second time in the span of barely six months. Women (of any religious community) are not objects to be auctioned off and while the first instance made us really sick, the second time around we call for strict action against the offenders. These internet trolls did not stop the first time and if we don’t take them down along with their wicked site. Not calling out these offenders for their deplorable acts will only make the internet more unsafe for Muslim women and we strongly believe that no woman should have to put up something so sickening.