Friday, August 19th, 2022

India’s police make arrests in connection with an online ‘auction’ of Muslim women.

A woman, 19, is suspected of being the main accused among three people arrested by Mumbai police in connection with an app that put more than 100 women ‘on sale.’ 

Police in India say they have arrested three suspects in an investigation into an online app that shared photos of more than a hundred Muslim women for an “auction,” in yet another case of anti-minority prejudice. 

Several Indian Muslim women have recently claimed on social media that their images were used without their permission to create an open-source app on the Microsoft-owned open software development platform, GitHub. 

The app’s name was “Bulli Bai,” a derogatory term for Muslim women. 

The Mumbai Police’s cybercrime division arrested Mayank Rawal, 21, from the northern state of Uttarakhand, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. 

Rawal is the third person arrested in the case, following Vishal Kumar, a 21-year-old engineering student, and Shweta Singh, a 19-year-old woman suspected by police of being the main suspect. 

According to Mumbai police officials, Kumar was arrested in the southern tech hub of Bengaluru, while Singh was apprehended in Uttarakhand. 

Ismat Ara, a New Delhi-based journalist targeted by the app for online “auction,” claimed in a police complaint filed on Sunday that it was an attempt to harass Muslim women. 

“The said GitHub is violent, threatening, and intends to create a sense of fear and shame in my mind, as well as in the minds of women in general, and the Muslim community whose women are being targeted in this hateful manner,” Ara wrote in her complaint, which she shared on social media. 

Last Saturday, India’s Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnav, confirmed that GitHub had blocked the user who created the “Bulli Bai” app. 

The app was released just six months after a similar app called “Sulli Deals” put nearly 80 Indian Muslim women “on the market.” 

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