Bulli Bai row: Amid outrage over Muslim women being targeted through a dodgy app, the Delhi Police sought details from the GitHub platform about the developer of the ‘Bulli Bai’ mobile application and asked Twitter to block and remove related ”offensive contents” on its platform.
The police have also sought from Twitter information about the account handler who first tweeted about the app.
Leaders from across the political spectrum condemned the cyber harassment of women belonging to the minority community and called for strict action against the guilty.
Terming the matter ”serious”, Delhi Minorities Commission issued a notice to city police chief Rakesh Asthana seeking an action-taken report on January 10. It said the interests of Muslim women need to be safeguarded by nabbing the culprits.
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has also asked police officials to appear before it later this week.
Hundreds of Muslim women were listed for ”auction” on the app with photographs sourced without permission and doctored. It has happened for the second time in less than a year. The app appeared to be a clone of Sulli Deals which triggered a similar row last year.
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge condemned the harassment of Muslim women and alleged that it was the result of the repeated ”dehumanisation of minorities by the BJP”.
”Strongly condemn this disgusting harassment of Muslim women. This is the result of repeated dehumanisation of minorities by the BJP leadership,” Kharge said on Twitter.
”Why were previous instances of similar harassment ignored? I hope this time, the strongest action against the guilty will be taken,” he added.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged the BJP government has abdicated its constitutional and legal responsibility in acting against those lumpen elements and criminals, who are trying to tarnish the modesty of women.
”Can India’s women be divided now or looked at from the prism of their religion or caste or region or colour of their skin or the kind of clothes they wear,” he posed.
”It is time for Home Minister Amit Shah to abide by the oath of the Constitution that he took and act decisively against those criminals, otherwise, it will be known that there is latent support of Modi Government to such lumpen elements,” Surjewala said.
BJP leader and Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi accursed those behind the app and said any ”cyber criminal communal conspiracy” against the country’s composite culture will not succeed.
Interacting with reporters, Naqvi, who is the Union Minister for Minority Affairs, noted the government has been acting in the matter and said such targeting of women is unacceptable.
Stern action is being taken against such criminals and their ”communal conspiracy” will be exposed soon, he said.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra and said action will be taken against developers of the app if a complaint is received against it.
IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said on Sunday that the government is working with police in Delhi and Mumbai, where cases have been registered in the matter.
He also said that GitHub has blocked the user who had uploaded the app and that the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), the country’s nodal agency on cyber security, and police are coordinating further action in the matter.
The National Commission for Women had also written to the Delhi Police to expedite its action in the case to ensure that such crimes do not recur. A senior police Delhi Police officer said on Monday, ”We have written to Twitter seeking information about the account handle who had first tweeted about the ‘Bulli Bai’ app.” ”This is to know how the person concerned came across the alleged application which had offensive contents about women of a particular community.” The police said they have also approached GitHub to share details about the developer of the app, that was available on its platform, to know the intention and purpose behind the creation of such an application and its whereabouts.
”We have also asked Twitter to remove and block any such offensive contents from its platform immediately which are shared through the alleged app and are related to the entire controversy,” he said.
The development comes after the Delhi Police on Saturday registered an FIR against unknown persons for allegedly uploading a doctored picture of a woman journalist on a website. The journalist had lodged a complaint and shared a copy on Twitter.
The DCW, in a statement, said it has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about pictures of many Muslim women being been uploaded on the app. It has asked the Delhi Police to appear before it and provide a list of people arrested in both the ‘Sulli deal’ and ‘Bulli Bai’ cases.
The JNU unit of the Left-affiliated All India Students’ Association protested against Delhi Police, accusing it of ”inaction” in the Sulli Deals and Bulli Bai cases. They also burnt an effigy of the city police and demanded an inquiry into the matter and immediate arrest of the culprits.
A case was registered at the Cyber Police station of the southeast district on Saturday night. No arrest has been made in the case so far and a probe is underway, the police had said.
In July last year, a case was registered by the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police after it received a similar complaint about an unidentified group uploading photos of Muslim women on the ‘Sulli Deals’ mobile application.
Police officials said an investigation is on in that matter too.