Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has said that the ‘Bulli Bai’ app emerged only due to inadequate action against the creators of mobile application ‘Sulli Deals’ for allegedly uploading photos of women without their consent.
“I had raised the issue of Sulli Deals, a website where women were being auctioned using their photographs, especially targeting a specific community; abusive language was being used, the women were being used as a ‘commodity’,” Ms Chaturvedi said.
Underlining the mental harassment women have to go through because of such applications, Ms Chaturvedi said, “I had complained about it (Sulli Deals) to the IT minister, who later replied that the sites have been blocked. But blocking the sites is one way to go about it, the other is to take action against those who are making such sites.”
“Due to lack of action then, we see another version of it has emerged in the form of Bulli Bai,” she added while hoping for a “logical conclusion” to the issue this time.
After both the Delhi and Mumbai Police lodged FIRs in the matter under relevant sections, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw, in a tweet on Sunday said, “The Government of India is working with police in Delhi and Mumbai on this matter.”
Delhi Police on Sunday said that an FIR has been registered under section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code in the Cyber Police station of South-East district. The action by Delhi Police was taken based on a complaint by a woman journalist at the Cyber police station where she alleged that her photo was uploaded on a website to target her.
The complainant said that she was seeking immediate registration of FIR and immediate investigation against unknown people who are seeking to harass and insult Muslim women on social media and the internet.
Mumbai Police has also filed a first information report (FIR) against unknown persons based on complaints that doctored photographs of women were uploaded for auction on ‘Bulli Bai’ application hosted by GitHub platform.
On Sunday, West Mumbai Cyber Police station registered a case against the ‘Bulli Bai’ app developers and Twitter handles that promoted the app.
The case has been registered against unknown culprits under sections 153(A) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion etc), 153(B) (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 295(A) (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), 354D (stalking), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 500 (criminal defamation) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act.
Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday said that the Centre is working with Delhi and Mumbai police to take “further action” on the GitHub user behind the ‘Bulli Bai’ app. GitHub has blocked the site.
Vaishnaw later tweeted that action has been taken and the GitHub user behind the ‘Bulli Bai’ app had been blocked and “further action” was being coordinated. “GitHub confirmed blocking the user this morning itself. Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Police authorities are coordinating further action,” Vaishnaw said in a reply to a tweet by Priyanka Chaturvedi.
Delhi Police Special Cell had in July 2021 registered an FIR against the creators of mobile application ‘SULLI DEAL’ for allegedly uploading photos of Muslim women without their consent, using inappropriate remarks against them. The app allegedly uploads photos of women without their consent and uses the hosting platform ‘GITHUB’ to auction the stolen photos.