New Delhi: Amid growing outrage over mobile application ‘Bulli Bai’ for displaying doctored photos of hundreds of influential Muslim women for sale online, the Information and Technology Ministry has taken swift action against its creators and an FIR has been lodged by the Delhi Police in this connection.
The action was taken after the matter was brought to the notice of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw by Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi on Twitter. According to reports, Delhi Police had registered a case based on a complaint filed by a woman journalist alleging that she was being targetted by an unidentified group of people on a mobile application named `Bulli Bai` created on the GitHub platform.
An FIR has been registered under section 509 in Cyber Police station of South-East district, Delhi Police said. This comes six months after police in Delhi registered a case in connection with photos of Muslim women being uploaded and “auctioned” on a Github app.
Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw tweeted late on Saturday to inform that action has been taken and the GitHub user behind the `Bulli Bai` app had been blocked and “further action” was being coordinated.
“GitHub confirmed blocking the user this morning itself. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Police authorities are coordinating further action,” Vaishnaw said in a reply to a tweet by Shiv Sena`s Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi.
Shiv Sena MP had asked, “I have repeatedly asked Hon. IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw 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.”
Later, Priyanka Chaturvedi thanked the Union Minister and hoped that the Home Minister`s Office and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology MEITY will support Mumbai Police to find these culprits.
“Sir, Thank you. With due respect, I had shared with you that besides blocking the platform punishing the offenders creating such sites is important. I hope the Home Minister`s Office and MEITY will support Mumbai Police to find these culprits and make them as well as platforms accountable,” she tweeted.
How did the Bulli Bai controversy erupt?
Delhi Police on Sunday said that a complaint was filed by a woman at the Cyber police station where she alleged that her photo was uploaded on a website to target her. The complainant said that she was seeking immediate registration of FIR and immediate investigation against unknown people who are seeking to harass and insult Muslim women on social media and the internet.
The police had earlier said that the matter has been taken cognizance of and concerned officials have been directed to take appropriate action. Meanwhile, in her complaint, the woman told police that she was shocked to find out that a website/portal “had a doctored picture of me in an improper, unacceptable and clearly lewd context.”
“Social media being a form of public expression cannot be used to demean and derogate women in general and Muslim women in particular by misogynist sections of society. This is nothing short of online harassment and the tweet referred to herein is per se liable for criminal action , she said.
“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 targeted in this hateful manner. In fact, this website has been targeting other Muslim women as well,” alleged the complainant.
Outrage over Bulli Bai app
Opposition leaders have also condemned the act and have called out the government and Delhi Police to take strict action. “It is unacceptable that this project of dangerous anti-Muslim misogyny is back. The appalling indictment of the state of affairs, that not only was nothing done last time, but these forces also felt emboldened to repeat the whole thing because the establishment backs them Congress MP Karti Chidambaram tweeted.
“Disgusting. Inaction by authorities has made these criminals brazen. Ashwini Vaishnaw, National Commission for Women and Delhi Police please investigate and take strict action,” AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Kavita Krishnan said,” In rage and solidarity with Ismat Araa, Samreen and other Muslim women being subjected to vile online “auctions” by rape-minded Sanghi filth. terrorists to resurface as #bullibai.”
Earlier in July, Delhi Police Special Cell had registered an FIR against the creators of a mobile application for allegedly uploading photos of Muslim women without their consent and using inappropriate remarks against them.
The case is related to an app named `SULLI DEAL` that allegedly uploads photos of women without their consent and uses the hosting platform `GITHUB` to auction the stolen photos. The National Commission for Women (NCW) also took suo moto cognisance of the “defunct website called `Sulli Deals`.