India: App targets Muslim women, police investigation launched

Photographs of more than 100 Muslim women, including prominent actress Shabana Azami, wife of a sitting judge of Delhi High Court, multiple journalists, activists and politicians were displayed on the app for auction as “Bulli Bai”.

After last July’s “Sulli Deals“, in which nearly 80 Muslim women were put up “for sale”, “Bulli Bai” was the second such attempt in less than a year.

Both ‘Bulli’ and ‘Sulli’ are derogatory words used for Muslim women in local slang.

The online application was created on Microsoft-owned open software development site GitHub. The app was taken down on Saturday.

Police complaints have been filed in capital New Delhi and Mumbai.

During the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr last year, a YouTube channel named “Liberal Doge”, shared pictures of Pakistani women in a sexualised video, titled “Eid Special”. It was removed by the company after outrage.

Weeks after the incident, Muslim women were “auctioned” under the “Sulli Deals”.

Indian parliamentarian Priyanka Chaturvedi called out India’s IT minister to take “stern action” against “misogynistic and communal targeting of women”, the minister said GitHub had blocked the user responsible for hosting the site and the “police authorities are coordinating further action”.

“Police complaints were registered during the time of ‘Sulli deals’. However, no action was taken. That is the reason why these people feel emboldened,” Chaturvedi said.