Indian police make arrests over app that ‘auction’ Muslim women

Indian police say they have arrested a 20-year-old man they suspect of setting up an online app that shared pictures of Muslim women for a virtual “auction”.

An open source app on the Github platform called ‘Bulli Bai’ – a derogatory term for describing Muslim women – had shared pictures of dozens of women without their consent before removing it.

KPS Malhotra, a police officer in the capital New Delhi, said his team had arrested a 20-year-old engineering student from Jorhat in the eastern state of Assam after an investigation involving the state-run Computer Emergency Response Team.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale shows a document as he speaks at a news conference.
Mumbai police said they were investigating whether the app, which did not involve any actual auctioning of people, was part of a “larger conspiracy”.(AP: Rajanish Kakade)

Mumbai police have separately arrested two 21-year-old engineering students and an 18-year-old woman in connection with the app.

Muslim women targeted

Mumbai police said they were investigating whether the app, which did not involve any actual auctioning of people, was part of a “larger conspiracy”.

Several Indian Muslim journalists were targeted by the app, including Ismat Ara, who filed and then shared on social media a police complaint saying the app was “designed to offend Muslim women”.

“After today’s arrest of @DelhiPolice, I hope the culprits behind this widespread harassment of Muslim women, including journalists like myself, will eventually be caught and punished,” Ms. Ara said in a tweet Thursday.

Muslims account for about 14 percent of India’s 1.3 billion inhabitants.

Some sections of society have been at odds with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration and Hindu right-wingers, including over a controversial 2019 citizenship law that sparked major protests.

Reuters

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