Alleged to be the main creator and conspirator behind the ‘Bulli Bai’ App on GitHub, 20-year-old Neeraj Bishnoi who was arrested from Assam on Thursday, has been sent to police custody for seven days by a Delhi Court, ANI reported.
Bishnoi, a resident of Assam’s Jorhat area who is a student of BTech from Vellore Institute of Technology in Bhopal, was arrested and produced by the Delhi Police Special Cell’s Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit at the Magistrate’s house, by Thursday night.
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 handles.
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 female, Muslim activists who frequently voice their opinions on social media, were also listed.
Ara had filed a complaint with the Delhi Police, seeking immediate registration of an FIR and an investigation into the matter.
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, as per police sources.
The Mumbai Police Cyber Cell had also registered an FIR, based on which they detained and arrested 18-year-old Shweta Singh from Uttarakhand and 21-year-old engineering student Vishal Kumar from Bangalore, on Tuesday. After the case was transferred to the IFSO, they arrested Mayank Rawat, a 21-year-old student of B.Sc Chemistry at Delhi University’s Zakir Hussain College, from Kotdwar, Uttarakhand on Wednesday.
Kumar was first arrested and had revealed the identity of Singh, who was using a fake Twitter handle with the name JattKhalsa07, for uploading hate posts and objectionable photos and comments. Following her arrest, Singh alleged that she was working on the instructions of a friend, a Nepal national named Giyou.
During the investigation, the police also informed that the status of the Twitter handle linked to the app, read that Bulli Bai is “a community driven open source app by Khalsa Sikh Force.” The Twitter handles used to share the photos on the ‘Bulli Bai’ app include @bullibai_, @sage0x11, @jatkhalsa7, @wannabesigmaf, @jatkhalsa and @Sikh_khalsa11, among others.
The police has reportedly said that the use of the Twitter handle names closely related with the Sikh community could have potentially led to communal tension, considering the women targeted in the case belong to a different religion.