Mumbai Police has arrested a third-year engineering student in connection with the Bulli Bai case where social media display pictures of some politically vocal Muslim women were put on an online ‘auction’. Further, the police have detained an 18-year-old Shweta Singh from Uttarakhand, suspected to be the mastermind in the case.
Mumbai Police went to Bengaluru to arrest Vishal Jha and brought him to Mumbai yesterday for questioning. He has been sent to police custody till 10 January.
Mumbai Police is questioning the woman now. Police said the arrested man is a co-accused in the matter and was in touch with the woman.
The matter surfaced on 1 January when several Muslim women found themselves being ‘auctioned’ on the vile app. The app hosted by the GitHub platform had used their photographs, morphing quite a few of them.
The targets were mostly women vocal on burning political and social issues, spanning age groups. Prominent journalists, activists and lawyers were among those listed for ‘auction’ in the Bulli Bai app in a typical case of cybercrime of the nature of ‘revenge porn’ or hacking attacks by people from hostile countries although the culprits did not resort to uploading fake nudes.
While in revenge porn, a jilted lover makes public intimate videos with his former girlfriend after the break-up with a twisted sense of getting even with her, in hacking attacks, websites of rival countries are targeted. It seems in the case of the Bulli Bai app that the uploaders had a point to make against the Muslim women whose photos they uploaded.
The dubious Bulli Bai app appears to be a clone of ‘Sulli Deals’, which had triggered a row in July 2021 when it offered users a sulli, a pejorative term used by some people for Muslim women. GitHub was host to that application too.
Police have said the app has no connection to Sikhs but the accused allegedly made it look as if it were linked to Khalistani groups.
Several opposition leaders, including INC’s Rahul Gandhi and Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi had protested against the atrocity, urging the government to crack down on the platform and bring those behind it to justice.
IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said the GitHub user behind the app had been blocked and “further action” was being contemplated.
Mumbai Police has registered a case whereas Delhi Police is looking into the matter and the Delhi Commission for Women has issued a notice to police officers.