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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Sulli Deals: Police arrest man for making app to auction Muslim women


Police in India have arrested a man suspected of creating an app that put up photos of more than 80 Muslim women for “sale” online last year.

Sulli Deals, an open source app, was hosted on the web platform GitHub in July 2021.

The 25-year-old was apprehended just days after a similar app, Bulli Bai, uploaded photos of over 100 Muslim women.

Four students were arrested, including a 21-year-old student who allegedly created the second app.

There was no actual sale in either case, but the goal was to degrade and humiliate Muslim women, many of whom have spoken out against the rising tide of Hindu nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Sulli” is a derogatory Hindi slang term for Muslim women used by right-wing Hindu trolls, and “bulli” is also derogatory.

After the Bulli Bai app sparked outrage online, one of the women who filed a police complaint in July claimed that no action had been taken by police in the capital Delhi.

Aumkareshwar Thakur was apprehended by police in Indore, Madhya Pradesh’s capital, on Sunday.

Mr Thakur’s name was mentioned by police while Neeraj Bishnoi, the alleged creator of the Bulli Bai app, was being questioned, according to BBC Marathi.

Mr Thakur’s devices are being examined, according to KPS Malhotra, deputy commissioner of Delhi Police’s cyber crime team.

The Sulli Deals app had taken publicly available photos of women and created profiles for them, describing them as “deals of the day.”

Those featured on the app were all vocal Muslims, including journalists, activists, artists or researchers.

One of the women, a commercial pilot, told the BBC in July that she felt “chills” go down her spine when she heard about the app.

The Bulli Bai app elicited similar reactions from the women whose photos were uploaded without their consent, including several journalists, a Bollywood actor, and the 65-year-old mother of a missing Indian student.

According to a 2018 Amnesty International report on online harassment in India, the more vocal a woman was, the more likely she was to be targeted; this was especially true for women from religious minorities and disadvantaged castes.

According to critics, trolling against Muslim women has gotten worse in India’s polarised political climate in recent years.


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