Bulli Bai: "Seems She Did It For Money," Say Cops On Brain Behind App

Mayank Rawal, a student, was caught in the early hours of Wednesday, the official said. An engineering student from Bengaluru, Vishal Kumar Jha, was arrested earlier.

The app was called 'Bulli Bai', a derogatory term to describe Muslim women.

Mumbai:

An 18-year-old girl and two young students have been arrested over the "Bulli Bai" app that shared pictures of Muslim women, including well-known faces, for an online "auction". A 21-year-old from Uttarakhand is the latest to be arrested, a day after Class 12 student Shweta Singh was caught in the case involving hate directed at Muslims.

Mayank Rawal was caught in the early hours of Wednesday. A second year engineering student from Bengaluru, Vishal Kumar Jha, was arrested earlier.

"Three people have been arrested for the 'Bulli Bai' app and Twitter handle. We are looking for more people involved," Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale told reporters.

The youngest of them, Shweta Singh, was allegedly the brain behind the app. The teenager, also from Uttarakhand, controlled 'Bulli Bai' and three more apps, investigations reveal.

She did it for money, according to the Uttarakhand police say. Her father died of Covid and her mother had died earlier.

"The woman who was arrested from Uttarakhand's Rudrapur in the 'Bulli Bai' app case belongs to a poor family and her father is not alive. It seems she got involved in such activities for money," said Uttarakhand police chief Ashok Kumar.

The app was allegedly set up on December 31.

The Mumbai Police started an investigation three days later after receiving a complaint that doctored photographs of hundreds of Muslim women were uploaded for an 'auction' on an app hosted on the open-source software platform GitHub.

The app was called 'Bulli Bai', a derogatory term to describe Muslim women.

A similar app and website called 'Sulli Deals' had surfaced earlier this year and had sparked massive outrage.

Ismat Ara, a journalist targeted by the Bulli Bai app, said in her police complaint on Sunday that it was an attempt to harass Muslim women.

"The said 'github' is violent, threatening and intending to create a feeling of fear and shame in my mind, as well as in the minds of women in general, and the Muslim community whose women are being targeting in this hateful manner," said the complaint.

There was no actual 'auction' or 'sale' but the purpose of the app seemed to be to humiliate and intimidate women, many of them active on social media.

Police say the accused initially used bots to post content. Later, they switched to their original accounts.

"The app had five followers. We started investigating all of them. We came to know who were the operators. Pictures of well-known women were loaded along with objectionable messages," Mr Nagrale said.

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