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‘Bulli Bai’ App Case: Mumbai Police Detains Woman From Uttarakhand and 21-year-old Student From Bangalore

The Mumbai Police Cyber Cell has detained a woman from Uttarakhand, who is reportedly the main accused, and a 21-year-old engineering student named Vishal Kumar from Bangalore, in connection with the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case, ANI reported.


The app put up pictures of Muslim women as part of a fake ‘online auction’ along with the caption ‘Bulli of the day’ and their Twitter handle. The police arrested and produced Kumar before Mumbai’s Bandra Court on Tuesday. The accused was asked to remove offensive content related to the issue, reported ANI.

Further, the police have registered a case against the accused, under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the IT Act.

In a span of six months, Muslim women found their photos and personal information being misused in an online auction, twice.

In July 2020, nearly 80 Muslim women were listed “for sale”, on a fake online auction, which was known as the “Sulli Deals“, also hosted by GitHub. “Sulli” is a derogatory term used by Hindu men against Muslim women. The Delhi Police had registered a First Information Report, after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) and the National Commission for Women had called for an investigation but no action had been taken, at the time.

On January 1, nearly 112 Muslim women found themselves listed on a similar online auction including actor Shabana Azmi along with several journalists such as Ismat Ara, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Fatima Khan and Kashmir-based journalist Quratulain Rehbar. Author Saba Naqvi, poet Nabiya Khan, RJ Sayema, Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, activist Khalida Parveen and several other Muslim women activists who frequently voice their opinions on social media, were also listed.

Ara, who is an investigative journalist with The Wire, filed a complaint with the Delhi Police, seeking immediate registration of an FIR and an investigation into the matter, under sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups based on religion), 153B (assertions that damage national integrity), 354A (punishment for sexual harassment) and 509 (insult to modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.

In her complaint, she mentioned that “Bulli bai” is a derogatory term used exclusively against Muslim women that “seems disrespectful” and the content on the website “” is “clearly aimed at insulting Muslim women and the entire website seems to have been designed with the intent of embarrassing and insulting Muslim women.”

Ara added that the website “objectifies and dehumanises” women. “This is nothing short of online harassment and the tweet referred to herein is per see liable to criminal action.”

Based on Ara’s complaint, an FIR was registered by Delhi Police’s Cyber Crime Unit on Sunday. On Monday, the Delhi Police also sought information from Twitter and the GitHub platform about the app and its developer, sources in the police told ANI.


The Journalist Federation of Kashmir (JFK) has also strongly condemned the “online bullying and auctioning” of Muslim women which this time has included one of their colleagues Rehbar.

“This systematic abuse, demonization and patronising of these brave women are a testimony to the fact they are surely frustrating the forces and power centres they spoke and wrote against. We stand in solidarity with all these women and Quratulain, who will continue their journey of speaking truth to power,” JFK wrote.


The National Commission for women has also written to the Delhi Police to expedite its action in the case, PTI reported.

Actors Swara Bhasker and Richa Chadha also came out in support and expressed solidarity in the issue. Raising his voice against the alleged online auction, lyricist Javed Akhtar also questioned the silence of every one including his own and the Prime Minister’s.