Complaints about hundreds of Muslim women listed for "auction" on a dodgy app with photographs sourced without permission have triggered a major controversy for the second time in less than a year.
The police in Delhi said they were investigating a case filed by journalist Ismat Ara while Priyanka Chaturvedi, an MP from Maharashtra's ruling Shiv Sena, said a probe had also been launched in Mumbai.
The matter has been taken cognizance of. Concerned officials have been directed to take appropriate action.— #DelhiPolice (@DelhiPolice) January 1, 2022
Have spoken to @CPMumbaiPolice and DCP Crime Rashmi Karandikar ji. They will investigate this. Have also spoken to @DGPMaharashtra for intervention. Hoping those behind such misogynistic and sexist sites are apprehended. https://t.co/Ofo1l9dgIl— Priyanka Chaturvedi???????? (@priyankac19) January 1, 2022
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
The Mumbai cyber police have begun an investigation into the objectionable content on the app 'Bulli Bai', an official told news agency PTI.
The app appeared to be a clone of Sulli Deals which triggered a row last year by offering users a "Sulli" - a derogatory term used by right-wing social media trolls for Muslim women - calling them "deals of the day".
While there was no real sale involved, the purpose of the app was to degrade, humiliate and harass, some of its targets said.
"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.
Muslim women with a strong presence on Twitter have been singled out and their photos were listed on the platform once again.
The abuse drew strong condemnation on Twitter.
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.— Ismat Ara (@IsmatAraa) January 1, 2022
Happy new year. pic.twitter.com/pHuzuRrNXR
There are many Muslim names,including mine,in the obnoxious #BulliDeals , same as #SulliDeals— Sayema (@_sayema) January 1, 2022
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?
It is unacceptable that this project of dangerous anti-Muslim misogyny is back. Appalling indictment of the state of affairs, that not only was nothing done last time, these forces felt emboldened to repeat the whole thing because the establishment backs them. https://t.co/0huEq05zp4— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) January 1, 2022
In rage and solidarity with @IsmatAraa, Samreen and other Muslim women being subjected to vile online “auctions” by rape-minded Sanghi filth. Deliberate police inaction on #sullideals has emboldened the terrorists to resurface as #bullibai. https://t.co/gLC4WIoiPV— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) January 1, 2022
The app appeared to have been taken down after being posted on the Microsoft-owned software sharing platform GitHub which allows anyone to upload an in-development app.
Removing the Sulli Bai app after complaints last time, GitHub had said, "We suspended user accounts following the investigation of reports of such activity, all of which violate our policies."
According to PTI, two First Information Reports or 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 significant action was taken against those responsible.