Bulli Bai, bid to silence independent Muslim women, but we will return as spring: Congress leader Sadaf Jafar

A day after Mumbai police detained Bangalore based engineer for publishing photos of 80 Muslim women in Bulli Bai App for online auction, clamour grew for the strictest action against the App makers


NH Political Bureau

Hours after Mumbai police arrested Bengaluru based software engineer for publishing names and photographs of 80 Muslim women in the Bulli Bai App for online auction, clamour grew for the strictest possible action against the App makers and further investigation into the matter.

Joining the nationwide outrage against the online harassment of Muslim women, several Congress leaders have raised the issue. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to express his anguish:

Priyanka Gandhi directly attacked PM Modi for his silence over the issue. In a confrontational tone, she tagged the PM on Twitter and said, “Communal forces consider sexual violence as their weapon…Those who are targeting women based on their identity are anti-national. ”

Congress MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla has shot off a letter to the Home Minister Amit Shah urging him to punish the maker of the App.

Bulli Bai, bid to silence independent Muslim women, but we will return as spring: Congress leader Sadaf Jafar

The face of the anti-CAA, NRC movement, and Congress leader Sadaf Jafar whose name and photograph were published in the App, opined that the incident should be seen in a broader political perspective.

Saying that targeting Muslim women and putting them through online harassment, is an outcome of the deep-rooted hatred for the “able, vocal and independent minority voices” which is now being fanned by the Hindutva forces.

Calling the incident as the “dehumanization of Muslim women” Jafar who was jailed for taking part in anti-CAA, NRC protest in Lucknow said, “The incident should be seen in the background of the recently held Dharm Sansad, followed by the derogatory comments made by self-proclaimed saint Narsinghanand.”

“Why are they targeting us? Because we have protested for our rights. They have profiled women who were vocal during the Shaheen Bagh and anti-CAA, NRC protest. They (BJP government) consider us as a political threat,” said Jafar.

Attacking Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for encouraging “unsocial elements” Jafar asserted, “The guy who has been arrested in connection with the App is merely an arm. The real masters are somewhere else. It cannot be an act of a single person. They are trying to silence Muslim women, burn us off but we will return as spring,” said Jafar, adding, “The culprits must be brought to justice.”

Narrating the trauma that she has gone through after seeing her photograph in the App, Jafar said, “I was in deep shock for two days…I was not even able to get up. I regained strength after seeing that my party is behind me. And my leader Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi spoke up against the incident in the strongest tone.”

“Many of the women will not speak up but I will. If I do not speak up for my rights, then who will? Mai ladki hoon lad sakti hoon (I am a girl, I can fight out),” said the Congress leader.

The Bulli Bai app controversy came to light on the beginning of New Year as several Muslim women – mostly in public life – found themselves on ‘auction’ on the vile app. The app was hosted by the GitHub platform. After the controversy broke out, GitHub blocked the App.

The targets included well-known women journalists, activists, and lawyers, who have been critical of the Modi government. As per cyber experts, the App appeared to be a clone of ‘Sulli Deals’ which had triggered a row last year by offering users a ‘sulli’ - an insulting term used by right-wing trolls for Muslim women. That too was hosted by GitHub.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi spoke out on the issue, urging the government to crack down on the platform and bring those behind it to justice. Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission for Women has issued a notice to Delhi Police, asking them to appear before the Commission. Head of the Commission, Swati Maliwal took a potshot at the Delhi police.

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnav has said the GitHub user behind the app had been blocked and further action was being coordinated.

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Published: 04 Jan 2022, 4:23 PM