New low in hate crimes: Several arrested after ‘auction’ of Muslim women on Twitter

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Neeraj Bishnoi, one of the main conspirator in the 'Bulli Bai' case (ANI Photo/Prateek Kumar)

Police seek information from Twitter about the account that first tweeted about the ‘Bulli Bai’ app; GitHub also asked for important details  

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Mumbai

On Sunday, several complaints were received by several police stations in the country regarding the listing of Muslim women for “auction” on the ‘Bulli Bai’ mobile application 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.

No action was taken against anyone.

On Thursday, Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations unit (IFSO), Special Cell of Delhi Police arrested the main conspirator of the ‘Bulli Bai’ case from Assam. KPS Malhotra, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) IFSO Delhi, informed, “Neeraj Bishnoi, arrested from Assam by Delhi Police Special Cell’s IFSO team, is the main conspirator and creator of ‘Bulli Bai’ on GitHub and the main Twitter account holder of the app. He is being brought to Delhi Neeraj Bishnoi (20) is a resident of Digambar area of Assam’s Jorhat. He is a BTech student of Vellore Institute of Technology, Bhopal: IFSO

The Bulli Bai case was transferred to the IFSO on Wednesday.

Earlier, an engineering student from Bengaluru, a young girl from Uttarakhand, and one of her friends has been arrested by Mumbai Police in connection with the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case, informed police on Wednesday. “Three people have been arrested in the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case, including Vishal Kumar Jha and Shweta Singh. The third accused is Shweta’s friend,” said Hemant Nagrale, Mumbai Police Commissioner.

Vishal Kumar has been sent to police custody till January 10 by a Bandra court and Shweta Singh is on a transit remand. Mumbai Police on Monday filed a first information report (FIR) against unknown persons based on complaints that doctored photographs of women were uploaded for auction on the ‘Bulli Bai’ application hosted on the GitHub platform.

On Sunday, West Mumbai Cyber Police station registered a case against the ‘Bulli Bai’ app developers and Twitter handles that promoted the app.

After both the Delhi and Mumbai police lodged FIR in the matter under relevant sections, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw, in a tweet on Sunday said, “Government of India is working with police organizations in Delhi and Mumbai on this matter.”

Meanwhile, Dehli Police has sought information from Twitter about the account that first tweeted about the ‘Bulli Bai’ app and has asked it to remove offensive content related to the controversy, sources informed on Monday.

Lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar (ANI Photo)

The police have also sought information from GitHub platform about the ‘Bulli Bai’ app developer. The case registered under section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code in the Cyber Police station of South-East district has now been transferred to Delhi Police Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit.

The action by Delhi Police was taken based on a complaint by a woman journalist 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.

Earlier, an engineering student from Bengaluru, a young girl from Uttarakhand and one of her friends has been arrested by Mumbai Police in connection with the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case, informed police on Wednesday. “Three people have been arrested in the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case, including Vishal Kumar Jha and Shweta Singh. The third accused is Shweta’s friend,” said Hemant Nagrale, Mumbai Police Commissioner.

After the 18-year-old woman was arrested by the Mumbai police in connection with the Bulli Bai app controversy, veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar expressed his opinion on the same, urging people to forgive her as the young girl reportedly lost her parents to cancer and COVID-19 recently.

Akhtar, who has been actively sharing his opinions on the case, took to his Twitter handle on Wednesday to ask netizens to show compassion and forgive the girl. He tweeted, “If ” bully bai” was really masterminded by an 18-year-old girl who has recently lost her parents to cancer and Corona I think the women or some of them meet her and like kind elders make her understand that why whatever she did was wrong. Show her compassion and forgive her.”

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