Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

An engineering student (20) is believed to be behind an ‘Bulli Bai’ app that put more than 100 Muslim women ‘for sale’.

India police say they have arrested a 20-year-old man suspected of creating an online application that shared photos of Muslim women for a virtual “auction”, as an investigation into the issue of religious hatred widens.

An open source application on the Microsoft-owned Github platform called “Bulli Bai” – a derogatory term to describe Muslim women – shared photos of dozens of women without their permission before removing them a week ago.

KPS Malhotra, a police officer in the capital, New Delhi, said on Thursday that his team had arrested Niraj Bishnoi, a 20-year-old engineering student, from Jorhat in the northeastern state of Assam after an investigation involving the state-run Computer. Emergency response team.

“He is the person who created the Bulli Bai application on Github. “He also created the Twitter handle @bullibai_ and other handles,” Malhotra said.

The police in the western city of Mumbai, which is also investigating the application, have separately three people arrested this week, including two 21-year-old engineering students – Vishal Kumar and Mayank Rawal – and Shweta Singh, a 19-year-old woman.

Police in Mumbai said they were investigating whether the application, which did not involve an actual auction of people, was part of a “larger conspiracy”.

‘Absolutely chill’

Several Indian Muslim journalists have been targeted by the application, including Ismat Ara who lodged a police complaint on Sunday and then shared on social media saying the application was “designed to insult Muslim women”.

“After today’s arrest by @DelhiPolice, I hope that the culprits behind this widespread harassment of Muslim women, including journalists like me, will finally be caught and punished,” Ara said in a tweet on Thursday.

Media Watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) described the application as “absolutely cool” and encouraged Indian authorities to take action.

“To do nothing would be to condone an extremely violent form of harassment, a form of intimidation that discriminates against an entire sector of the journalistic community and exposes those targeted to potential physical attacks,” RSF said. said Daniel Bastard.

Singh, the youngest of those arrested so far in the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case, is from the North Indian state of Uttarakhand.

The 19-year-old started spending time on social media and making contact with Hindu right-wing users after completing her school exams last year, a local police officer who spoke to her earlier this week told Reuters news agency.

The official, who declined to be named, said Singh told him that her actions were based on Hindu right-wing ideology, which she picked up on social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.

“She came to social media to divert her attention, but she kept getting entangled in it,” the official said.

Muslims, who make up about 14 percent of India’s 1.3 billion population, have seen an increase in religious hatred and violence since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 and was re-elected in 2019 with a larger majority.

In July last year, a similar application, called ‘Sulli Deals’, also on GitHub, has put almost 80 Muslim women “for sale”. No arrests have been made in this case yet.

Many women who have appeared on both the applications have in the past made critical statements about the rise of Hindu nationalism and the treatment of minorities in India.

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