‘Sulli Deals’ 2.0: Muslim women harassed and ‘auctioned off’ once again

Following the incident of July 2021, another episode of Sulli deals, the auctioning of Muslim women online by right wing trolls, has taken place. With the return of the auction, the scant lack of respect for Muslim women has become apparent yet again.

‘Bulli Bai’, an anonymous user, reportedly targets over 100 influential Muslim women whose pictures have been shared over the platform, Git-Hub, as ‘deals of the day’, to be sold in an auction.

The team ‘Bulli’ is a derogatory slur that has been used to insult and disrespect Muslim women. In the same vein, it is worth noting that the term “Sulli” is an offensive slur used against Muslim women and has made the rounds time and again in communal pogroms.

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An investigative journalist with The Wire, Ismat Ara, who has been subjected to the harassment, on Saturday, filed a complaint (an FIR) with the Cyber Cell of Delhi Police.

“It is very sad that as a Muslim woman you have to start your new year with this sense of fear & disgust. Of course, it goes without saying that I am not the only one being targeted in this new version of #sullideals,” Ismat Ara first tweeted on Saturday afternoon.

Ismat who has been subject to online harassment previously was shocked after she found out that a website bullibai.github.io, had displayed inappropriate, doctored photos, of her, in a lewd context, on Saturday morning.

She found the website after she came across a tweet that tagged her saying, “Your Bulli Bai of the day is Ismat Ara,” along with a doctored image, of her face.

Delhi police said it “took cognizance” of the tweet after Ismat called out to them to take an action. In her complaint, Ismat says that she is unaware of any action taken against the perpetrators, whether or not an FIR has been filed and under what sections.

Ismat has demanded action against them under sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.), 354A (punishment for sexual harassment, and sections 66 (Hacking with a computer system) and 67 (Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing the sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act.

“It is indeed disappointing to see the impunity with which such hatemongers continue to target Muslim women without fear of any sanction whatsoever,” she said in her complaint.

Apart from Ismat, another journalist, former correspondent at The Quint has been subjected to the harassment, yet again. Hiba Beg was informed by concerned friends of the episode when she tweeted out her ordeal.

“You did nothing to stop this the last time, and here it is again. I have censored myself, I hardly speak here anymore, but still, I am being sold online, I’m being made “deals” out of. @ColumbiaSIPA – Your student is being sold online, twice in a matter of half a year,”. she tweeted.

A number of people have come out in support of these women including All India Majlis-e-Ettihad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), President, Asaduddin Owaisi, who called the episode “disgusting” and asked for action by the Delhi police.

Congress MP from Bihar Dr Md Jawaid, has appealed for action against the perpetrators in his letter addressed to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, undersigned by 56 other MPs.

“Requested Hon’ HM @AmitShah Ji to take action on Sulli Deals perpetrators along w 56MPs. Now a new platform “BulliBai” has surfaced which is a replica of Sulli deals. Requesting Action on both these platforms and the criminals who have no fear of the law,” he tweeted.

Fact-check, cofounder, Mohammed Zubair, who has gathered proofs and screenshots of the Twitter handle that tweeted the ‘deals’ also reached out to the Mumbai police asking for a complaint to be filed.

“Got a call from DCP cyber cell Mumbai, Have shared all the details I had to Mumbai DCP. Hope those behind this are caught ASAP. It’s possible that their arrest can also lead to people who created #sullideals last year,” tweeted a hopeful Zubair.

“It is indeed disappointing to see the impunity with which such hatemongers continue to target Muslim women without fear of any sanction whatsoever,” said Ismat in her complaint criticizing the leeway given to Hindutvadis, in the country.

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