India: Muslim Women Listed For Auction; Opposition Blames Inaction
For the second time in less than a year in India, pictures of Muslim women have been put up for display on an app that appears to be an online ‘auction’.
While the move has provoked outrage, the Indian government has promised to take action.
The name of this app created on ‘Gut Hub’ is ‘Bulli Bai APP’, which is an insulting term used for Muslim women.
Users who open the app are shown pictures of women with the tagline ‘Today is your cat bye’, most of which are edited.
Hundreds of women in India, including journalists, social activists and other celebrities, have found their photos on the app on New Year’s Eve.
Many women have since taken to Twitter to protest the harassment, especially of Muslim women in India. Hours later, the Indian government promised action.
In a tweet on Saturday night, Indian Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vishnu said:
He added that the CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team), an office under his ministry, and police officials were in touch to take further action.
The Cat Buy app came out six months after another website called Sully Deals, which was uploaded to GateHub.
Two complaints were lodged in this regard, but no concrete action has been taken and no arrests have been made so far.
Ismat Ara, one of the journalists targeted by Bulli Bai APP, lodged a complaint at the Delhi Police Station on Sunday.
Delhi Police subsequently lodged an “initial information report” (FIR) which included allegations of incitement to religion-based animosity, racist allegations against national integration and sexual harassment.
Ismat Ara said in a tweet that it is very sad that as a Muslim woman you have to start your new year with this feeling of fear and hatred. Needless to say, I’m not the only one being targeted in this new version of Sally Deals. “
Speaking to The Independent, she said she was disappointed that this had happened to Muslim women twice in less than a year.
“This is not the first time this has happened,” he said. This has happened to Muslim women who have repeatedly raised their voices, highlighting issues that people do not want to talk about.
According to Asmat, filing an FIR does not mean that any concrete action will be taken.
“Since no real action has been taken (in the Sully Deals case), this is a signal to the women as well as the perpetrators,” he added. The sign for the women is that (if) you keep complaining you will not get any redressal and for these criminals it is a sign that they can continue this work without facing any consequences.
Although the app has now been removed from Gut Hub, the incident has also caused a stir among opposition parties in India.
MP Priyanka Chatterjee said she had repeatedly pointed out the targeting of women through such platforms and called for stern action against “such insults”, but they had been ignored.
After Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vishnu’s statement, Priyanka Chatterjee added that it was not enough to start an investigation.
Another MP, Asaduddin Owaisi, also slammed the Narendra Modi government, saying “the inaction of the authorities has made these criminals shameless.”
Although the government has not commented further on the incident, Ismat Ara said that the women who have been targeted “demand accountability from the government”.